When a young person is preparing to apply for a place at an Australian university, they worry about their grades and the tests they might need to take. No one thinks about something like a police background check until they are told they need to submit it to one if they want to study there.
The most important thing you need to know is that not all higher education institutions have such a requirement. Those that do ask for background checks in the education sector during the enrollment phase are either mandated by law to do so, while others do it to protect the students from wasting time studying for a profession they won’t be able to practice.
Let’s have a look at both situations.
What type of educational institutions require background checks?
Imagine a teenager studying hard to be admitted to medical school. In most cases, such kids are not the type that gets in trouble with the police. Still, when they show up for enrollment they are asked to submit to a police check and a mysteriously-sounding Working With Children permit. That’s very confusing and it doesn’t make much sense to the student. However, these requirements made a lot of sense to those who came up with these regulations.
As a medical student, you will be required to take part in clinical placement and visit hospitals on a regular basis. Automatically, this means you’ll be in close contact with all sorts of vulnerable people.
Most patients can be said to be vulnerable, but the elderly or people with disabilities even more so. This is the reason universities are mandated by law to require background checks for all their students.
Also, if you’re going to be visiting pediatric facilities, you absolutely need a Working With Children (WWC) permit, which is more than a routine criminal history check. No dangerous people can be allowed to work with children, not even students as the risks are simply too high. So, if you’re grumbling about a useless police check, know that it is for the good of the children. And you should also know healthcare professionals are all required to get such permits, and the rule applies even to volunteers.
If you’re studying to become a teacher of whatever subject, you might also have to interact with children, while you’re in school and, of course, later on. All teachers need to have a WWC permit, which is renewed every few years.
If you want to become a coach and you’ll be working with minors, you also need to submit to a police check and get a WWC permit.
On the other hand, there are certain jobs where you’re required to undergo a police check when you apply for a job. This refers to people wishing to have a legal career or work in the police force. Since you won’t be able to get a job with a criminal record, they’ll ask about it when you enroll.
How do I know what’s on my criminal record?
The easiest way to do that is to order a background check on yourself using an online character check agency like the following link to the ANCC service: australiannationalcharactercheck.com.au which provides checks for a number of sectors including education.
If you have committed some minor offenses when you were less than 18, they will soon become spent. The waiting period for minors is 5 years or even 3 in some Australian states. Once the conviction becomes spent it won’t appear on your criminal record anymore, so you have nothing to worry about.