Recruiting apprentices in the motoring industry? Make sure you ask the right questions

We’ve recently been advising a large motor manufacturer who was asking a misleading question on their online apprenticeship application form. It stated:

“Have you any convictions, including both spent and unspent convictions under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act (ROA) 1974? If yes, please provide details.”

We believed that the apprenticeship role being offered would be covered by the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 and would only require a basic criminal record check, if any. This means that applicants would only need to disclose unspent convictions.

We contacted the motor manufacturer setting out our concerns and also highlighting the following:

  • Any suitable candidates with spent convictions may be put off from applying as they are being asked to disclose a conviction they wouldn’t legally need to disclose.
  • Applicants may disclose more information than they are legally required to declare, leaving the motor manufacturer open to possible action under the Data Protection Act.

Several months after our initial contact, the motor manufacturer informed us that they had removed the question from their online apprenticeship application form, bringing it in line with their standard employment application form.


This case demonstrated how it is possible to effect change by working with employers and supporting them through the process of amending their application forms.


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