This year, City and Guilds celebrates the centenary of its Royal Charter. Since the first examinations were taken in cotton manufacture, steel manufacture, gas manufacture, wool dyeing, alkalie manufacture, telegraphy and qualitative blowpipe analysis (yes, really!), over 14 million people worldwide have gained a City and Guilds qualification to further their knowledge of any number of different occupational areas.
The City and Guilds of London Institute, to give it its proper name, was established in 1878 'for the advancement of technical education'. Students began to enrol at the City and Guilds of London Institute, the Finsbury Technical College and the Lambeth School of Art from 1881 onwards, and the first overseas examinations were held in 1887. When Queen Victoria awarded the Royal Charter in 1900, it was 'to provide the means and motivation for individuals, corporations and communities to achieve their goals.' Today, City and Guilds awards almost 50% of NVQs awarded in Britain, and has also taken Pitman Qualifications and NEBS Management under its wing, together with an international arm of City and Guilds itself.
Looking ahead, Director-General Dr Nicholas Carey says that lifelong learning is a key to sustaining the role of City and Guilds in the future: "Lifelong learning will certainly be the route to success in the future. None of us can be assured of a job for life, and every few years we will all need to review our skills and think about updating and developing them. City and Guilds will be there, working with new technology to ensure that training and education area acessible to everyone."
To celebrate the anniversary, earlier in the year City and Guilds launched the Future 100 scheme, designed to fund bursaries totalling half a million pounds for those needing financial support to further their ambitions through training. In the end 101 winners were chosen from 13,000 applicants to receive funding for everything from NEBS Management Diplomas to a City and Guilds Progression Award in Motor Vehicle Servicing and Repair.