Work-based learning

Work-based learning to support your application for professional registration.

What is work-based learning?

Work-based learning means the knowledge and understanding that you have developed through experience. Learning occurs over time as new knowledge and understanding updates and builds on a previous level of understanding.

Learning does not occur by simply listing your experiences, but by researching, identifying new knowledge and then by reflecting on experience and drawing from the knowledge of others to increase your own understanding. In an educational context, this might involve formalised research activities. Most employers also offer a range of sources of knowledge, including experienced colleagues or specialists acting as mentors or coaches.

The term work-based learning does not imply that learning occurs only at work, but that the knowledge and understanding that have developed are applied and challenged through work practice.

If you are practising to the same standard as a professionally registered engineer, but do not hold formal qualifications at the right level:

  • have you had the opportunity, through practice, to develop your knowledge and understanding, and are able to provide technical evidence from your work-based learning experience?
  • can you demonstrate your achievements in a technical role, appropriate to the category of registration for which you are applying?

What types of evidence might be suitable?

  • An extended curriculum vitae;
  • An existing technical report written in the course of your work, based on, for example, an investigation, design study or a feasibility report, which might include individual research and study into engineering and/or technology techniques;
  • A portfolio relating to one or two projects, together with a linking commentary, eg a collection of data or records, which would need to be tied together by an aim, an outcome and a rationale;
  • A copy of a technical presentation that you have given, which enables you to provide the best examples of your technical learning.

The IET will contact you if this type of evidence is required when you apply for professional registration.

How is work-based learning assessed?

Your evidence will be assessed in the context of your overall application. If you have:

  • demonstrated to assessors that you have had the opportunity to develop and exercise the required knowledge and understanding, you may be able to proceed directly to the professional review interview. The interviewers may probe specific competences in more detail;
  • made a reasonable case, but there remain questions about your technical knowledge and understanding, then you may be invited to attend a technical interview based on the additional material you have provided.

This interview will be carried out separately to your professional review interview.

If you are asked to attend a technical interview, you will need to satisfy the technical interviewers that you have gained the appropriate level of underpinning knowledge and understanding before you can be successful at a professional review interview.

For alternative options, see formal qualifications.

Ready to apply?

You must be a member of the IET before applying for professional registration. For more information please visit the about IET membership page.

If you feel able to demonstrate the appropriate level of competence you can apply for professional registration in one of two ways:

Need help?

You may find answers to some of your questions in the professional registration frequently asked questions.

We will do as much as we can to support you with any aspect of your application, so please get in touch if you need help and advice.


Tel: +44 (0) 1438 767 333
Email: profreg@theiet.org