City and Guilds of London Institute

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City and Guilds of London Institute
Established 1878
Location London, United Kingdom UK

The City and Guilds of London Institute (City & Guilds) is a vocational education organisation in the United Kingdom. Founded on November 11, 1878 by the City of London and 16 livery companies – to develop a national system of technical education, City & Guilds has been operating under Royal Charter (RC117), granted by Queen Victoria, since 1900. The Prince of Wales later King Edward VII was then appointed the first President of the Institute.

City & Guilds is a registered charity (no. 312832). The Institute's president is HRH The Princess Royal who accepted this role in June 2011 (following her father HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, who held the position for nearly 60 years), and the Chairman of Council is Sir John Armitt, who took office in November 2012.


A meeting of 16 of the City of London's livery companies in 1876 led to the foundation of the City and Guilds of London Institute for the Advancement of Technical Education (CGLI), which aimed to improve the training of craftsmen, engineering technicians, engineering technologists, and professional engineers. The two main objectives were to create a Central Institution in London and to conduct a system of qualifying examinations in technical subjects.[1]

Unable at once to find a large enough site within the City of London for their Central Institution, the CGLI occupied a building on land alongside Exhibition Road in South Kensington, although its headquarters were in Gresham College in the City. At the time John Watney was both secretary to the Gresham Committee and the CGLI. Evening classes were offered at a school in Cowper Street, off City Road, enabling instruction in chemistry and physics to be provided to those who wished to continue their education after working during the day. The school proved such a success that new premises had to be found in nearby Leonard Street, which was formally opened on 19 February 1893 as Finsbury Technical College. The Institute's director at the time was Sir Philip Magnus, later University MP. Finsbury College was intended as the first of a number of feeder colleges for the Central Institution, but was almost the only one founded. Finsbury College continued its separate existence until 1926.

The City & Guilds of London Art School was established in 1854, as one of the first Government Schools of Design, in Kennington, south London. It was originally named Lambeth School of Art and was set up to provide training in carving, modelling and architectural decoration. In 1879 the art school began a close working relationship with the City and Guilds Institute. This lasted until 1971, when the art school became an independent charity. The art school focuses on undergraduate and postgraduate study of fine art, stone and wood carving and the conservation of three-dimensional cultural artefacts. The City and Guilds Institute accredits the carving courses and maintains a link with the Art School.

City & Guilds College[edit]

Faced with their continuing inability to find a substantial site, the Companies were eventually persuaded by the Secretary of the Science and Art Department, General Sir John Donnelly (who was also a Royal Engineer) to found their institution on the 87 -acre (350,000 m²) site at South Kensington bought by the 1851 Exhibition Commissioners (for GBP 342,500) for 'purposes of art and science' in perpetuity.

The Central Technical College building was designed by Alfred Waterhouse, better known as the architect of the Natural History Museum. Located adjacent to the Central Institute on the site were the Royal School of Mines and the Royal College of Science.

In 1907, the latter two colleges were incorporated by Royal Charter into the Imperial College of Science and Technology and the CGLI Central Technical College was renamed the City and Guilds College in 1907,[2] but not incorporated into Imperial College until 1910.

Although the City & Guilds College was for much of its life governed through Imperial College, the City and Guilds Institute, together with a number of livery companies in their own right, have maintained seats on the governing body (the Court) of Imperial College.

In 2002, under Imperial College's new faculty structure, City & Guilds College, along with the other constituent colleges, ceased to exist as a separate entity. In September 2013 the Mechanical and Aeronautical engineering building at Imperial College was renamed City and Guilds Building to acknowledge the historical legacy. Its name also survives however in the City & Guilds College Union (CGCU)—the student union for the Imperial College Faculty of Engineering and the Imperial College Business School—and in the City & Guilds College Association (CGCA).

Alumni of the CGLI Central Technical College, the City & Guilds College and the new Imperial College Faculty of Engineering, unite under the City & Guilds College Association. Established in 1897 as the Old Centralians, the Association adopted its current name in 1992.[3]

The Links Club is a club for students and alumni of the Faculty of Engineering, Imperial College, formerly The City and Guilds College. Members are elected on the basis of good sportsmanship and meet each Thursday in South Kensington.

Headquarters of City & Guilds

CGLI examination and accreditation bodies[edit]

In 1953 the Associated Examinations Board (AEB) was established and administered by City & Guilds.

1964 saw the creation of the National Examining Board for Supervisory Management (NEBSM) as part of the City & Guilds group, specialising in qualifications for supervisors and junior managers.

In 1973, the Technician Education Council (TEC) was created to unify technical education, eventually taking over the validation of courses in further and higher education. These courses led to Ordinary National Certificates and Diplomas (ONC/Ds) and Higher National Certificates and Diplomas (HNC/Ds), which were previously the responsibility of professional bodies.

In 1974, the Business Education Council (BEC) was established, again administered by City & Guilds. This had a remit to rationalise and improve the relevance of sub-degree vocational education in Further Education and Higher Education colleges and in Polytechnics. Within 18 months, BEC took over responsibility for non-technical ONCs, ONDs, HNCs, HNDs and other qualifications.

BEC merged with TEC in 1984 to form the separately administered Business & Technology Education Council (BTEC). This then merged with the University of London Examinations & Assessment Council (ULEAC) in 1996 to form Edexcel.

In 1990 City & Guilds purchased the Pitman Examinations Institute, and Pitman Qualifications Single Subject awards in business and administration and English language proved to be successful worldwide.

In 2002, the Institute of Leadership & Management (ILM)[4] was formed through the merger of NEBSM and the Institute of Supervisory Management (ISM) and became part of the City & Guilds Group.

In 2004, the National Proficiency Tests Council (NPTC) - specialists for agricultural land based qualifications - became part of the City & Guilds Group.

In 2005, the Hospitality Awarding Body (HAB) - specialists in awards for hospitality and catering - became part of the City & Guilds Group. In January 2010, all active candidates were transferred to City & Guilds courses in order to remove duplicate award provision across the Group.

In 2008, the City & Guilds Centre for Skills Development was formed as part of the City & Guilds Group. Its mission is to influence and improve skills policy and practice worldwide through an evidence-based approach.

Vocational qualifications[edit]

City & Guilds is an examination board offering a large number of qualifications mapped onto the British National Qualifications Framework (NQF). The most common are the vocational qualifications, from Entry-level to Level 3.

  • Entry-level qualifications are the basics, for beginners.
  • Level 1 qualifications are introductory awards, covering basic tasks and knowledge.
  • Level 2 is slightly more advanced, needing some knowledge of the subject area.
  • Level 3 qualifications cover more complex tasks and also start the development of supervisory skills. In many professions, level 3 is the benchmark to be considered competent.

These qualifications are mapped onto the Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF).

The range of vocational qualifications cover areas such as engineering technician, arts and craft, tradesman, health and social care, hairdressing, automotive maintenance, construction, and catering, but also more obscure subjects such as sheep shearing, DJing, flower arranging and even door supervision (bouncer).

Higher level qualifications[edit]

City & Guilds offers higher level qualifications in a wide range of subjects ranging from Professional Engineering, Engineering Technology, Management, Building Services Engineering to various levels of apprenticeships, for higher technicians, tradesman, Craft, Travel and Tourism.

These qualifications consist of outcomes competencies based units, covering core, specialised, and key technical and management areas, which are assessed by means of examinations and written assignment.[5]

Higher Professional Diploma[edit]

The Higher Professional Diploma (HPD) is suitable for people who want to gain advanced technical skills and broader management knowledge. The qualification comprises 12 units in total, mapped at level 4 of the QCF.

Master Professional Diploma The Master Professional Diplomas (MPD) is suitable for those working at the higher levels in a relevant industry. The qualification comprises 8 units in total, mapped at levels 4,5, and 6 of the QCF. The awards are called Professional Recognition Awards. In addition to Royal Charter (the highest level of Accreditation in UK) the awards are NQF (National Qualifications Framework) accredited qualifications. Accreditation include Licentiate ship (LCGI), Affiliateship (AfCGI), Graduate ship (GCGI) and Membership (MCGI).

  • Licentiateship (LCGI) - level 4 applicants must provide evidence that they have performed competently in a relevant work environment. Evidence of industrial achievement may take the form of an industrial qualification (e.g. an industry-recognised apprenticeship) or confirmation from a current or recent employer of at least five years’ appropriate employment.
  • Affiliateship (AfCGI) - level 5
  • Graduateship (GCGI) - level 6 is equivalent to the Level 6 Graduate Diploma in Engineering.
  • Postgraduate, Membership (MCGI) - level 7: Academic standing = UK Master's degree (Master of Engineering (MEng) or Master of Leadership and Management or Master of Engineering Management)

Engineering (Graduate & Post Graduate Diploma)[edit]

City & Guilds has liaised with several discipline-specific engineering institutions to ensure the qualifications are aligned with the registration requirements for Incorporated Engineer (for the Graduate Diploma) and Chartered Engineer (UK) (for the Postgraduate Diploma), which will be considered through the academic assessment procedure of the institutions

The qualification has three main professional groupings. These are:

  • Civil Engineering
  • Electrical Engineering (contains three pathways of Electrical, Electronic; Telecommunication and Information Technology) and
  • Mechanical Engineering.

Fellowship (FCGI)[edit]

Fellowship (FCGI) is an honour conferred by the Council of the City and Guilds of London Institute to recognise outstanding professional and personal achievement. Fellows are leaders of industry, education & academia or government & public sector who have achieved remarkable success in their respective fields. Generally, they hold senior roles such as CEOs, board members or specialist employees at the national or international level.


  • Royal Charter (Highest level of Accreditation in UK)
  • OfQual NQF (National Qualifications Framework)
  • City & Guild higher level qualifications are acknowledged under the Lisbon Recognition Convention[6]

City & Guilds higher level qualifications are yet to be recognised in some parts of the world, e.g. Jamaica. The University Council of Jamaica (UCJ) is currently considering the qualifications at different levels, granted via assessment and learning.


  1. ^ "Imperial College archives". Retrieved 2013-08-05. 
  2. ^ "Imperial College: City and Guilds College". 2010-11-10. Retrieved 2013-08-05. 
  3. ^ "City & Guilds College Association Introduction". Retrieved 2013-08-05. 
  4. ^ "Institute of Leadership and Management". Retrieved 2013-08-05. 
  5. ^ C&G Higher Level Qualifications (HLQs) Archived December 29, 2010, at the Wayback Machine.‹The template Wayback is being considered for merging.› 
  6. ^ "National Action Plans For Recognition (United Kingdom)". Akadēmiskās Informācijas Centrs. October 2007. 

External links[edit]