Making Votes at 16 work in Wales

Young people aged 16 and 17 can now vote in Welsh elections. The 2021 Welsh Parliament elections were the first in which 16- and 17-year olds in Wales were allowed to vote. How did this first time opportunity turn out for young people? This is what we are now researching.

The ‘Making Votes at 16 work in Wales’-project evaluates a programme of interventions for the 2021 Welsh Parliament elections that aim to mobilise 16- and 17-year olds, especially those from traditionally underrepresented groups, to turn out to vote. These include interventions such as

  • Youth voter registration initiatives in schools, colleges, and local communities
  • Online resources on democratic voter literacy
  • Facilitated debates in schools, colleges, and youth groups
  • Online election hustings for young people

Interventions have been delivered across Wales in the lead up to the Senedd election. Engaging young people as researchers, the impact will be evaluated using pre- and post-election surveys and focus group discussions with at least 100 young people as well as ongoing election diaries

The project is funded by the Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust’s UK Democracy Fund. It connects stakeholders in Wales with national and international stakeholders.

Find out more about our funders here:

Information for Teachers

The ‘Making Votes-at-16 work in Wales’-project is looking to connect with teachers and youth workers who are keen for their students and young people to participate in research on one occasion in June or July 2021.

We are looking to speak with 16- and 17-year olds living in Wales about their experience of the recent Senedd/Welsh Parliament elections. Participation involves a 1-hour online group discussion with a trained youth worker and researcher, in groups of four to up to 30 young people, and a 15-min online survey to be filled in the young people’s own time.

Group discussions can be delivered online as part of a class, during a project week, as part of an after-school club or a regular youth group meeting, and they can be delivered in combination with an online workshop or masterclass from experienced academic researchers (at least 2 hours for both workshop and ensuing group discussions) on a range of topics, for example:

  • Myth busting with social research;
  • Doing your own research – a masterclass;
  • The lowering of the voting age in the UK and around the world;
  • Where do the numbers in the news come from;
  • Using statistics to understand the world around us.
  • (Please contact us with your ideas and specific needs!)

All 16- and 17-year olds living in Wales can participate. We are particularly looking to speak to young people with NO prior interest in politics. In addition, we are keen to work with young people in:

  • Swansea,
  • Gwynedd,
  • Wrexham & Flintshire,
  • the South Wales Valleys.

All participating young people will receive a £10 shopping voucher.

Further, we are keen to continue working with a select group of interested pupils and youth groups on the analysis of results from across Wales in data analysis workshops (August 2021), through film or art (August-September 2021), and in discussion with policy makers in Cardiff (September-October 2021).

The project is funded by the Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust’s UK Democracy Fund. It connects stakeholders across Wales and the UK, including the Electoral Reform Society, the Boys and Girls Club of Wales, Urdd Gobaith Cymru, the Welsh Youth Parliament, the Political Studies Association, and the Welsh Local Government Democratic Renewal Steering Group.

For more information or to arrange a class or workshop, please contact:

Dr Katherine Smith at or Dr Christine Huebner or phone us at 0115 848 4398.

Information for Young People

Thank you for visiting our project webpage. If you have taken part in our research and would like to re-visit information including our Project Information Sheet and Consent form, you can access them here.

As participants in this research, you are a highly valued part of our project. Please get in contact if you have any questions before, during and after the research.

The ‘Making Votes at 16 work in Wales’ research project has received ethical approval from Nottingham Trent University Ethics Committee. We follow strict guidelines on clear providing information to participants, consent, participant anonymity, and safeguarding of young people. We work closely and to the guidelines of our partner organisations in the community, including schools, colleges, youth groups and community organisations.

If you have any queries with regards to any of these issues, or anything relating to your involvement in the project, please get in touch with us:

Dr Katherine Smith at or Dr Christine Huebner or phone us at 0115 848 4398.


The project team hosted a webinar on 24th February. Watch it here: