Work experience and placements are an essential aspect of many college and university courses. Students on apprenticeship or “sandwich” courses will take a few days a week or a month at a time out of education to gain real-life work experience, and others will search for work related to their course during holidays from their study. Universities can often be a good source of information about how to get a DBS check, or will work with partner organisations such as Clear Check to process applications.


Nursing, Education, Social Work and Similar

Many students are on courses which lead to specific employment once their course is complete, such as those studying to be dentists, nurses, primary school teachers or social workers. As an enhanced DBS check is needed for these jobs, universities and colleges will run the enhanced disclosures before students start their courses. This means that students do not need to go through the disclosure process again each time they are placed into a new school or hospital as part of their training. However, if a student wants to spend their summer working at a children’s sports camp or in a care home, their employer might require them to get a new enhanced disclosure certificate.


Work Experience and DBS Checks

In other circumstances where a student is undertaking an internship, work experience or other placement and needs a DBS check, then the company where they will be working can usually help them obtain this. If this is not possible, then the university should be able to help. Whichever route the student uses to get their DBS check, the process is similar.

Students will be expected to provide identity documents to either their employer or university. Students who do not have a current passport or driving licence can sometimes struggle to do this and should get advice from the person in charge of organising DBS checks rather than try to navigate the process with the wrong combination of paperwork. You will also need something to verify your address and for students living in university accommodation, where they are not listed on utility bills or council tax, this can be difficult. Your university may be able to produce other paperwork acceptable to the DBS which confirms your term-time address on campus.

Foreign students can come across another level of difficulty when applying for a DBS check as they often only have identity documents issued in their home country. Universities should be able to advise on which documents can be accepted, and the process for having documents translated into English if this is required.


How Long Does It Take?

The average time for an enhanced DBS check to be processed is around ten days, but this can vary between the different regions of the UK and also depends on the time of year. The key piece of advice is never to leave your DBS check to the last minute, and to get the ball rolling with filling in the form as soon as a placement or work experience is agreed.