When is a DBS Check Required for Work Experience?

DBS check is a fantastic way for companies to make intelligent hiring decisions and improve workplace safety, both for their employees and customers. Whilst many businesses understand when DBS checks for individuals are required, there is more confusion regarding temporary staff, including those looking to complete their work experience.

Taking the time to understand whether these criminal record checks are required for work placements to take place is vital to maintaining the safety and security of both parties during this - often short - period of employment. The screening experts here at Online DBS Checks provide solutions where organisations can manage and oversee all active and ongoing DBS certificates. We’re often asked what the correct process is for temporary staff or students on work experience. So we have created the following guide to help you understand the steps you need to take.

What is Work Experience?

A commonly followed tradition for teenage students in the UK, work experience involves them arranging to work for a local company over a week or two. This helps young people understand what the world of work can be like and make contacts that could help them progress once they’ve finished their education.

Students can request to complete their work placements in any industry. That said, for obvious reasons, steps need to be taken by supervising adults to ensure their safety whilst gaining the experience, as well as that of any stakeholders, clients and customers. Part of conducting these security checks includes schools, colleges and businesses taking the time to assess whether DBS checks are required before the period of work experience begins.

Age of DBS Check Eligibility

Whether DBS checks for students are being considered due to work experience or some other reason, one constant is that anyone over the age of 16 is legally able to undergo a disclosure check. This is due to a change in UK law that occurred in 2012, at the same time as the now-extinct CRB (Criminal Records Bureau) check was changed to become the DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) check, making it illegal for under 16s to be forced to use a DBS checking service.

When is a DBS Check Required?

The age requirements mentioned above mean that only teenagers aged 16 and over can apply for a DBS check. However, this process is only recommended when over 16s work within certain types of job roles.

Continue reading for guidance on which types of work experience may require students to complete a DBS check, along with information on when existing employees may need to apply for a DBS check online before working alongside the student.


Anyone aged 16+ only requires a DBS check to complete their work experience if they have a juvenile offender’s record or their placement involves regularly working with children or vulnerable adults. The Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 states several workplaces, such as schools, nurseries, care homes and hospitals, are work experience locations where these checks would be applicable.


Anyone working for a company taking on someone under 18 for work experience may be required to complete an Enhanced DBS check before the placement can begin, particularly if the employee is expected to supervise or work alongside the student for extended periods. If the student is under 16 years of age, it’s also vital for employers to request Barred List checks for any employees who will work with the student to ensure that they will be safe in the working environment.

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