Our founders

Our founders

The City and Guilds of London Institute was founded in 1878 by the City of London Corporation and 16 Livery Companies.

The City and Guilds of London Institute (CGLI) was formed because our founders recognised the need for quality training following the boom in industry after the industrial revolution. Their objective was to support individuals and businesses by improving professional training under a national system of technical education.

Today, 108 Livery Companies are classed as Founder Members for the CGLI.


The Livery Companies

The Livery Companies of the City of London were formed as trade guilds to regulate competition and maintain high professional standards. Many of these guilds date back hundreds of years to the early Middle Ages.

The guilds were able to control prices, control wages, determine who could trade and ensure a high quality of work.

Today, the Livery Companies still champion their industries and play an integral role in their respective trades or crafts. Some still have powers of regulation and inspection, and some are awarding bodies for professional qualifications.

The Livery Companies support education training and the charitable sector by donating on average £40million annually. They also continue to focus strongly on teaching the practice and theory of their crafts and trades.

Our work with the Livery Companies

The City & Guilds Group continues to have a close relationship with the Livery Companies today:

  • 18 Livery Companies have a representative on the Council of The City and Guilds of London Institute
  • Livery Companies play an active role in electing Trustees of The City and Guilds of London Institute, who ensure our charitable objectives are met
  • A number of Livery Companies donate prizes and bursaries to our learners and tutors every year. The annual Livery Awards at our Palace Awards Ceremony recognises excellence in learning and training in their respective trades

Liveries The coats of arms of the sixteen founder Livery Companies and the City of London


The City of London Corporation

The City of London Corporation pre-dates parliament as the oldest continuous municipal democracy in the world.

Its constitution is rooted in the ancient rights and privileges pre-dating the Norman Conquest in 1066.

The Corporation's unique form of government led to a system of parliamentary government at local and national levels. London’s importance as a centre of trade, population and wealth won concessions from the Crown to independently govern its own affairs.

As London grew, the City of London Corporation began to specialise in trade. Today, the Corporation:

  • Supports and promotes London as the world’s leading international and financial centre of business and trade
  • Partners with local communities and businesses to increase skills, employment and opportunities for Londoners
  • Enhances and promotes the City as a place for Londoners to value and enjoy

Our work with the City of London Corporation

We maintain our connection with the City of London Corporation to this day. Currently:

  • The Lord Mayor holds an ex-officio place on the Council of The City and Guilds of London Institute
  • CGLI holds 22 voting places at the City of London Corporation elections

City and Guilds

Our legacy

The vision of our founders has evolved into our legacy.

Today, we have a group of businesses that can adapt to changing market needs whilst remaining rooted in our origins.

We have made this a reality, not only nationally, but globally. Through our Group – City & Guilds, ILM, Kineo, The Oxford Group and Digitalme – we have delivered above and beyond our founders’ vision.

We help to build business success on a worldwide scale by developing skills in the UK and internationally for people at all levels of their career, from apprentices to CEOs.