Why our heritage is still so important

Our heritage is not only important but it should be celebrated

It's been a year now since I joined the City & Guilds Group, and what has always been clear to me is how important the Group purpose is. It determines our values, beliefs and behaviours. But our purpose – to help people, organisations and economies to develop their skills for growth – was one that our founders' vision set many years ago.   

Livery Companies descended from medieval trade guilds and comprise London's ancient and modern trade associations and guilds, almost all of which are styled the "Worshipful Company of..." their respective craft, trade or profession.

In 1878 following a boom in industry after the industrial revolution The City and Guilds of London Institute was founded by the City of London Corporation and 16 Livery Companies.  Their objective was to improve professional training ensuring high standards of product quality under a national system of technical education, helping in the education of future generations.  In other words, making sure that qualifications in specific trades and continuous professional development were best in class to help people into jobs, on the job and into the next job.  

Today, there are more than 100 Liveries, and though trading conditions changed since their inception, their work is as pertinent as it always has been.  Different in size, structure and interests they all support our purpose, and promote trade, education and charity, working in the best interests of the communities in which they operate. The charitable dimension of their work now amounts to over £40m each year.  

In the past year alone, the City & Guilds Group actively engaged with 42% of the 107 Livery Companies by recognising excellence through awards and prizes or through supporting learners, often individuals facing hardship, to complete City & Guilds or ILM qualifications. 18 Livery Companies have a representative on our Council and they play an active role in electing Trustees to make sure our charitable objectives are met.  

In partnership with the Livery Companies, the City & Guilds Group has supported thousands of learners to develop their skills through apprenticeships, bursaries and grants - something we're all really proud of. 

As Community Engagement Manager it is my job to utilise and revitalise our heritage, collaborating to help people into jobs, on the job and into the next job, ensuring that the valuable asset of our heritage is recognised, respected and promoted. 

As we go in to our 140th year, it's clear to me that our heritage and purpose has never been so important. 

To find out more about who we are, our purpose and history click here >

Michelle-Obrien jpg

Michelle joined the Group in March 2017 as Sustainability Manager. More recently she has moved in to the role of Community Engagement Manager, looking after the team responsible for engaging with our key stakeholders including the Livery Companies, our Fellows and Councillors.