DBS Checks and Apprentices

Like other groups of workers, people who are working in your operation as apprentices need to have DBS checks. The type of DBS check will depend on the job which the apprentice will be doing. Most people starting apprenticeships are young people straight out of school. However, increasing numbers of older workers are starting apprenticeships too. If you’re about to start an apprenticeship or are managing a company which employs people as apprentices, here’s what you need to know.

DBS Checks for Supervising Apprentices

There is no legal requirement for people supervising apprentices to have a DBS check. This applies even if the apprentice is under the age of 18. This situation can cause confusion. When a young person of 16 or 17 is working in your business, they are classed as an employee. People supervising employees do not need to be DBS checked, irrespective of the age of the employee. When the apprentice goes to college or into off-site training, the relationship changes and teachers or trainers in college need to apply for a DBS check. 

Getting a DBS Check for An Apprentice

If your apprentice is going to be working in occupations which need DBS checking, follow the standard procedure to apply for their disclosure. Anyone over the age of 16 who is training as an apprentice in fields such as healthcare or childcare must be disclosed. This rule applies whether the person is an apprentice, or works full-time for your organisation.

DBS checks can only be done on people over the age of 16, but it is unlikely that any apprentice will be under that age. There is no reduction in fee for younger applicants. Most employers pay for DBS checks for their apprentices, but you have no legal duty to do so. If apprentices are moving between jobs regularly, look at signing up for the DBS Update service, which gives online access to records.

Problems for Apprentices and DBS

The main issue for under 18s when it comes to applying for DBS checks is proving addresses and identity. Under 18s typically don’t have bank statements in their own name, utility bills, driving licences or other paperwork which can be used to prove their identity and address. People who don’t have this sort of identification can submit other proof such as letters from headteachers. This all takes time though, and can lead to delays in your apprentices starting employment. Tell the applicants at interview stage if you know that they will have to apply for a DBS check. This gives them as much time as possible to get their paperwork in order.

When the apprentice reaches the age of 18, there is no need to automatically renew their disclosure check. If your company’s policy is to renew checks every three years or five years, apply that to apprentices too. By the time a renewal date rolls around, proving identity may be much easier. Apprentices should keep their disclosure certificates in a safe place at home. It is not considered good practice for employers to keep certificates.