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Ed Miliband day at the Labour Party conference

Labour leader Ed Miliband will address his party tomorrow. Photo: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire/Press Association Images

It's Ed Miliband day at the Labour Party conference.

Actually, with the small exception of Monday, it's Ed Miliband week in Manchester.

But today is the day the Labour leader makes his big conference speech to delegates, and his bid to voters outside the conference hall, that he is a Prime Minister in waiting.

There is something unusual about this particular conference season. Now that General Elections are five years apart, rather than four, the 2012 conferences are somewhat stuck in the middle of the electoral cycle. Too soon to set out too many policies - but late enough to require the party leaders to have already made a connection with voters.

And that is where Ed Miliband is still struggling.

Miliband pictured during a recent question and answer session with members of the public in Manchester. Credit: Anna Gowthorpe/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Sources close to the Labour leader say he will make a very "personal" speech. He will talk about being the child of Jewish refugees from the Nazis.

And, just as he did in his Party Election broadcast, he will contrast his comprehensive education with the Eton education the Prime Minister enjoyed: "I went to my local school with people from all backgrounds ... it taught people how to get on with each other, whoever they are and wherever they are from."

Former home secretary Jack Straw has said that he did not vote for Ed Miliband two years ago and he was worried about him for the first year, but that now he has "found his voice".

In his speech, Mr Miliband will flesh out a new policy which Labour claims is the "biggest shake-up of education for a generation."

The party is proposing to create a new "Technical Baccalaureate." It will be a vocational qualification which teenagers can chose to study instead of A-levels up to the age of 18.

Miliband meets jobless young people earlier this year. Credit: Stefan Rousseau/PA Archive/Press Association Images

Mr Miliband will say that he wants to focus on the forgotten 50 per cent of young people who do not go to university: "It's time now to focus on those who don't go to university. The young people who are too often the forgotten 50 per cent. We cannot succeed if we have an education system which only works for half the country."

Labour says it will also hand control of the £1 billion budget for apprenticeships to businesses leaders who will be able to direct the money to increase the number of apprentices they say they need.

But above all else, Ed Miliband must show he does matter and that while he often leads the "third most interesting political party" he does have the energy, enthusiasm and personality to be the next Prime Minister of the country.

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