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Citizen 16

Monday 30 June 2008 Citizenship

NUS launched the Citizen 16 Campaign in October 2007, aimed at improving young people’s rights in four important areas.

Citizen 16's four key principles

  • The right to vote at 16
  • End age discrimination in the national minimum wage
  • End the exemption from the national minimum wage for apprentices
  • The right to access to education for all young people (as defined in the Education and Skills Bill)

NUS will be building on the momentum of the campaign in 2008/09 in the following ways:

Votes at 16

NUS is an active member of the Votes at 16 Coalition. The coalition is planning a comprehensive campaign to influence the Young Persons Participation Commission, which is specifically looking at the voting age.
Read more on Votes at 16

National Minimum Wage

NUS is part of a coalition of organisations campaigning to make sure everyone's paid equally for their work, whatever their age, by having one national minimum wage not a minimum wage dependent on age.

We're also campaining for the extension of the national minimum wage to all apprentices and people in work placements. 

This year is a significant one for the campaign, as the government has instructed the low pay commission to review the national minimum wage for young people and NUS will be heavily involved in lobbying the commission.

It is also the tenth anniversary of the introduction of the national minimum wage, an ideal campaigning opportunity.


NUS will continue its work lobbying the government to improve the pay, learning and working conditions of apprentices.

This will include challenging the new national apprenticeship service to take its duty to ensure the quality of apprenticeships seriously. 

Education and skills bill

NUS will also continue to lobby for improvements to be made to the Education and Skills Bill, which introduces the new duty on young people to remain in some form of education to the age of 18. 

We will campaign for a national complaints authority for further education students and a right for all learners to challenge the quality and range of learning available from their local authority.

How you can get involved

  • Write to or meet your MP. To find out who your MP is and their voting history on this issue, use our handy MP finder or phone the House of Commons Information Office on 020 7219 4272. Ask them to sign up to the early day motions (see below)
  • Use NUS campaign cards to collect information and lobby your local MP and businesses
  • Agree a placements and work-based learning standards agreement with your college
  • Hold a mock election or referendum on voting at 16 in your college
  • Set up a ‘working nightmares’ forum on your college’s intranet/VLE
  • Run a special debate in your college on the leaving age
  • Talk to your local youth council and local authority about how it is going to affect them.
  • Join the Facebook group