City and Guilds of London Institute

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

The City and Guilds of London Institute (City & Guilds) is a leading United Kingdom vocational education organisation. City & Guilds offers more than 500 qualifications over the whole range of industry sectors through 8500 colleges and training providers in 81 countries worldwide. Two million people every year start City & Guilds qualifications, which span all levels from basic skills to the highest standards of professional achievement(Honours,Master and Doctorate levels equivalent).

Founded in 1878 by the City of London and 16 livery companies – the traditional guardians of work-based training – to develop a national system of technical education, City & Guilds has been operating under Royal Charter (RC117), granted by Queen Victoria, since 1900.

NOW THEREFORE know Ye that We by virtue of Our Royal Prerogative in that behalf and of other powers thereunto Us enabling of Our special Grace, certain knowledge, and mere motion by these presents do for Us Our Heirs and Successors give grant will direct ordain and declare as follows:-There shall from henceforth for ever be a Corporation aggregate by the name and style of "The City and Guilds of London Institute" and such Corporation is hereby instituted exclusively for the purpose of all such branches of Science and the Fine Arts and for the advancement dissemination propagation promotion culture and application of all such branches of Science and the Fine Arts as benefit or are of use to or may benefit or be of use to productive and technical industries especially and to commerce and industry generally or any branch thereof and for the utilisation of such means as will promote the several exclusive purposes aforesaid.

City & Guilds is a registered charity (no. 312832). The Institute's president is now 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 current Chairman of Council is Michael Howell.



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. 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 Committtee 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 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; although The City & Guilds of London Art School was established in 1879 in Kennington as an extension of the Lambeth School of Art to provide training in carving, modelling and architectural decoration. Finsbury College continued its separate existence until 1926.

City & Guilds College

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 eighty-seven 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. The Institute also continues to award the Diploma of Associateship of the City & Guilds of London Institute (ACGI), first awarded to students of the Central Institution who joined the earliest 3-year full-time courses which started in February 1885.

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. Its name survives however in the City & Guilds College Union (C&GCU)—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

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 the skills policy and practice worldwide through an evidence-based approach.

Vocational qualifications

Nowadays City & Guilds continues as 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 real basics, for absolute 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 now in the process of being mapped onto the new Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF).

The range of qualifications cover the 'traditional' areas such as engineering, health and social care, hairdressing, automotive maintenance, construction, and catering, but also the more obscure such as sheep shearing, DJing, flower arranging and even door supervision.

Higher level qualifications

City & Guilds offers a suite of higher level qualifications in a wide range of subjects ranging from Building Services Engineering to Travel and Tourism.

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

Higher Professional Diploma

The Higher Professional Diploma (HPD) is suitable for people who want to gain both 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 highest levels within the relevant industry. The qualification comprises 8 units in total, mapped at level 7 of the QCF

Senior Awards

City & Guilds offers a range of Senior Awards—Licentiateship (LCGI), Graduateship (GCGI), Membership (MCGI), and Fellowship (FCGI)—recognising personal achievement and the application of professional knowledge in the workplace.[6] LCGI and GCGI are earned qualifications and do not provide membership of the institute. The MCGI (and FCGI) carries with it full membership of the Institute, allowing attendance at yearly meetings and the opportunity to contribute to developments in vocational education.[7]

Licentiateship (LCGI)

The Licentiateship award is at a supervisory/junior management level and mapped to NVQ/IVQ level 4 and National Qualifications Framework (NQF) revised levels 4 & 5.

As a minimum requirement, applicants must hold a level 3 qualification (e.g. NVQ level 3, City & Guilds Advanced Craft, BTEC Ordinary or Higher National Certificate or Diploma, City and Guilds Full Technological Certificate or Diploma). Career extension evidence may take the form of a further qualification (e.g. NEBS Management Certificate, City & Guilds Further and Adult Education Teachers Certificate), membership of a relevant professional body or, for applicants over 26 years of age, confirmation of satisfactory performance in a supervisory or managerial role.

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.

Graduateship (GCGI)

The Graduateship award is at a middle management level, is mapped to a British Honours degree and is level 6 on the National Qualification Framework (NQF) (level NVQ 5 on the pre-2004 NVQ scale).

Applicants must have at least five years' managerial experience and will be able to prove specific managerial competencies such as:

  • Working to improve performance and keeping abreast of advances in their professional field.
  • Implementing and maintaining systems correctly to monitor quantity, quality, cost and time.
  • Defining problems and recommending solutions to improve efficiency of operations.
  • Understanding the company’s mission, and the social and economic implications of work undertaken.
  • Exercising responsibility for technical and managerial duties.

Associateship (ACGI)

The Associateship has been conferred upon successful students of the City & Guilds College continuously since 1887 in recognition of their ability to demonstrate the understanding and application of the principles of a branch of Engineering or of Computing Science at a level approved by the Institute.

Since 2002, when the City & Guilds College ceased to exist as a separate entity, the Associateship has continued to be conferred upon graduates of Imperial College who have been awarded a Bachelor of Science (Engineering), Bachelor of Engineering, or Master of Engineering degree in a discipline previous studied at the City & Guilds College.

The award recognises the special constitutional relationship between the CGLI and Imperial College and therefore is not available to graduates of other institutions.

The Graduateship (GCGI) and Associateship (ACGI) are at the same level.

Membership (MCGI)

The Membership award is at a strategic management/chartered professional level, is mapped to a British Master's degree and is level 7 on the National Qualification Framework (NQF)(level NVQ 5+ on the pre-2004 NVQ scale).

Applicants need to be able to prove operational ability and expertise at strategic management level. This will be supported by a minimum of ten years' management experience in areas such as those described for the Graduateship award.

Fellowship (FCGI)

This is the highest award conferred by the Council of the City and Guilds of London Institute, recognising outstanding professional and personal achievement. Fellows are people who have demonstrated excellence in their field, who have gained the respect of their peers and who can be considered role models for their profession.

Fellowship may also be awarded Honoris Causa (HonFCGI).

Fellowship honours high achievers and creates a formal link between influential people and the Institute, and those holding the award are encouraged to work with City & Guilds in raising standards in vocational training.


Holders of City & Guilds Senior Awards are entitled to use appropriate post nominal letters (LCGI, ACGI, GCGI, MCGI, FCGI) and are invited to attend the annual graduation ceremony, where they wear the approved formal dress of a gown, hood and mortar board or bonnet.

City & Guild higher level qualifications are acknowledged under the Lisbon Recognition Convention.[citation needed]

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.

Engineering Council

The City and Guilds of London Institute conducts on behalf of the Engineering Council a worldwide Examination for those who wish to meet the academic standard for professional engineers (Chartered Engineer and Incorporated Engineer), and for those overseas who wish to obtain a well-respected British engineering qualification. The contract for these examinations will end in 2011 and will not be renewed.

There are three progressive levels:

The Engineering Council Certificate

It is set at the same level as the first year of a UK degree course. Registration to the Certificate award is through possession of 2 A’ levels in science subjects, or their equivalent as may be agreed by Engineering Council Examinations at City & Guilds.

The Engineering Council Graduate Diploma

It is set at the same level as the final year of a British BEng in engineering. Registration to the Graduate Diploma is through possession of the Certificate level of the examinations, or their equivalent as may be agreed by Engineering Council Examinations at City & Guilds.

The Engineering Council Postgraduate Diploma

It is set at the same level as the final year of a British MEng. Registration to the Postgraduate Diploma is through possession of the Engineering Council Graduate Diploma in engineering, A UK accredited BEng degree or alternatively, by being exempted by a professional institution licensed by the Council to consider special cases through an Individual Case Procedure.


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