Our History & Foundations

Forty years or so ago very few people had heard of CPD (Continuing Professional Development). In the early 80’s, some professional bodies – for example the Chartered Accountants Institute, Law Society and the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors – imposed an obligation on their qualified members to carry out formal post-qualification study known as CPD.

A new era began, where professionals were mandated to undertake a range of CPD per annum, and failure to comply could lead to expulsion from their institute.


Despite the CPD policies encouraging regular learning and CPD, professionals found it difficult to comply with these obligations due to a lack of flexible learning options and a busy schedule. There was a clear mismatch between the members’ obligations and their ability to comply.

Jonathan Harris CBE FInstCPD

It all began in 1981…

That's when Jonathan Harris CBE pioneered an idea, the opportunity for individuals to improve their skills, work and professional practice by committing to Continuing Professional Development (CPD).   

Having spent a lengthy career within the property and surveying fields, and as President of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), Jonathan had extensive experience in the importance of further education and lifelong learning.

Initially founding the Continuing Professional Development Foundation Lecture Programme, he provided busy property and surveying professionals the opportunity to undertake lectures and seminars at low cost but as high quality, relevant learning experiences.

Since then, it has been extremely successful and today thousands attend the lectures or watch them online.

Now renamed The Harris Foundation For Lifelong Learning it has evolved to offer life skills, inclusive and collaborative educational opportunities to people from all walks of life, growing into a legacy that will support lifelong learning across the UK for years to come.

Establishing The Institute of CPD

In 1995, Jonathan went on to found the Institute of CPD. This was an advancement of the CPD Foundation and was not confined to the property and surveying sector. Together with his trustees (see below), the Institute’s mission was to welcome individuals from all sectors, age groups and qualification levels. 

It provided a desperately needed space, and opportunities for individuals from all professional backgrounds, to commit to undertaking formal CPD. Membership with this new Institute, enabled people to publicly demonstrate their beliefs and philosophy for keeping up to date and thirst for continuously improving and keeping their skills and knowledge up-to-date. 

Since its formation, the Institute has evolved its membership grades to encompass all in society.  

Each grade is prestigiously recognised with post-nominals, that individuals can freely use either as additional recognition alongside other professional grades, or as a single set of post nominals. Whatever the combination, the post-nominals are a social signal that demonstrate a commitment to CPD, and lifelong passion for learning.  

FInstCPD – The “Fellow” grade was launched when the ICPD was founded in 1995. It was originally for individuals who are a member of another professional body. Today this criteria has been widened to welcome those who may have a different professional path. Click here to see the current criteria for Fellows.  - For example: Jonathan Harris CBE FRICS FInstCPD (Hon)


MInstCPD – A new grade entitled “Member” grade was added in 2008. This is for individuals who are mid-career, and are either members of a professional body, have a degree, or have a minimum of 5 years’ work experience. Click here to see the current criteria for Members. – For example: Milly Isaac BSC (Hons) MInstCPD


AInstCPD – An “Achiever” grade was launched in 2021. This is for individuals under the age of 25, who have completed a CPD accredited course and are undertaking 10 hours of CPD per annum. Find out more about becoming an Achiever here. – For example: Oleh Fitz AInstCPD

In 2021, the Institute of CPD with the CPD Standards Office, the leading CPD accreditation service, to offer positive, accessible and successful CPD experiences to the Institutes members. Together, these combined forces are helping individuals advance their careers by offering high-quality training and valuable formal recognition of their commitment and achievements.

Trustees of the Institute of CPD


The trustees of the Institute of CPD are listed below, all of whom has a passion for further education and are keen that the legacy of lifelong learning lives on. 


Jonathan Harris CBE

Sir Denis Pereira Gray Kt OBE

Vivien King

Lord Bichard of Nailsworth KCB

Dame Gillian Guy DBE 


Previous Trustees have been Sir Leonard Peach and Sir Brian Hill who are since deceased. 

Changing the World for the Better


Knowing that the gift of learning is priceless, and not all individuals have the same access to continual learning, 25% of all membership fees from the Institute of CPD goes back to the Harris Foundation for Lifelong Learning. The initial vision of accessible CPD for professionals, has now evolved into a legacy of support for lifelong learning across the UK. To this day, Jonathan is the chair and a strong advocate for ongoing education and CPD.