2021 winners of PIEoneer Awards revealed in London

Judged by a panel of 43 international education experts, 21 winners spanning seven countries and all varieties of educator and service provider were awarded top gongs in 19 categories in a year where the sector has been severely hampered by the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.

In a competitive year, the 21 winners were selected from more than 430 entries. Additionally, 25 finalists were recognised as highly commended in their respective categories.

Headline awards recognised Universities UK International director Vivienne Stern as Outstanding contribution to the industry – she has had a positive impact on the outcome of key legislation for UK international education, since being appointed in 2014. The most notable being the graduate visa route and the recent Turing Scheme announcement.

“We had so many entries that demonstrated a quick pivot and forced innovation to support students”

TAFE Queensland in Australia was named PIEoneer of the year for its Australian Pacific Training Coalition. In a highly competitive field, the institution was crowned winner for delivering Australian qualifications in various vocational areas aligned to employment opportunities for Pacific Island citizens. APTC’s goal is to contribute towards a more productive workforce that enhances Pacific Prosperity.

Two categories saw joint winners, with the Digital innovation of the year – learning award going to both EHL, Switzerland – for its Virtual Housekeeping Class and VictoryXR, US – for a VR and AR-augmented learning “metaverse”. The Student support award recognised both Study NSW, also in Australia, for its International Student Temporary Crisis Accommodation Scheme, and Kaplan Business School Australia’s COVID-19 Student Welfare Plan.

This same award also recognised the Institute of International Education in the US and iCent in Canada as highly commended, which organisers highlighted as appropriate in a year where infrastructure to help and protect students has been so vital.

Amy Baker, CEO of The PIE, commented, “We had so many entries that demonstrated a quick pivot and forced innovation to support students – learning via VR, remote internships, the mobilisation of an app to check in daily with students while they quarantine.. and ambassador communities springing up – these are just some of the examples of the amazing pioneering work we got to read about. 

“Thanks to our 43 judges, we are able to celebrate just some of the impressive innovation and dedication displayed by our peers in the industry.”

A surprise Lifetime impact award announced on the night recognised the work of Arlene Griffiths, who has previously held leadership positions at IDP Education and the British Council as well as Cardiff University.

And for Student Counselling Organisation of the year award, Mexico-based Blue Ivy Consulting scooped the award for the second time. In 2020, Blue Ivy launched operations in eight countries: USA, Colombia, Chile, Argentina, Ecuador, Peru, Nicaragua, and Bolivia. It was one of many companies evidencing huge commitment to students in a turbulent year.

The winners were announced at a glamorous and hybrid event held at London’s historic Guildhall on September 3 – over 200 virtual attendees joined the 360 education professionals who attended live in London. 

The full list of winners and highly commended of The PIEoneer Awards 2021

    • Association of the year: English UK, UK

HC: The Skills Builder Partnership, UK

    • Championing diversity award: Deakin University, Australia – Centre for Refugee Employment, Advocacy, Training and Education (CREATE)

HC: Otermans Institute, UK

    • Digital innovation of the year – assessment and credentials: NCUK – The University Consortium, UK – Digital Assessment Platform

HC: ETS, US – TOEFL® Special Home Edition and Riiid, Korea – AI-enabled education

    • Digital innovation of the year – learning: EHL, Switzerland – Virtual Housekeeping Class and VictoryXR, US – VictoryXR Campus

HC: Navitas (UPA Division), Australia – Flexible Learning Project

    • Digital innovation of the year – technology: QS, UK – Global AI Enrolment Solutions

HC: Adventus.io, Singapore

    • Employability international impact award: Student Circus, UK

HC: Franked.io and NSW partners, Australia

    • International alumni of the year: Dev Aditya, India – Brunel University, UK

HC: Arundhati Katju, India – International House, US

    • International student living award: Nido Student, UK

HC: The Stay Club, UK

    • Language educator of the year: Australian Centre for Education (ACE), Cambodia

HC: English Unlimited, Australia and ILAC – International Language Academy of Canada

    • Marketing campaign of the year: Universities UK International, UK – The #WeAreTogether international recruitment campaign

HC: Nord Anglia Education, UK – ‘A Little Bit of Genius’ Podcast Campaign

    •  Outstanding contribution to the industry: Vivienne Stern, UK

HC: Dr. Jagdish Gandhi, India

    • PIEoneer of the year: TAFE Queensland, Australia – Australian Pacific Training Coalition (APTC)

HC: Green School Bali, Indonesia – A community of learners making our world sustainable

    • Progressive education delivery award: Humber College, Canada – Beyond COVID-19: Global Systems Gap Challenge

HC: University of Miami, US – Hemispheric University Consortium

    • Public / private partnership of the year: QA Higher Education and Northumbria University, UK – Northumbria University London Campus

HC: Kaplan Higher Education and The University of Adelaide, Australia – The University of Adelaide Melbourne Campus

    • Real life learning award: Paragon One, US

HC: Texas International Education Consortium, US

    • Secondary learning international impact award: Merrick Preparatory School, Canada

HC: Lyceum Alpinum Zuoz, Switzerland and Rosedale Academy, Canada

    • Student counselling organisation of the year: Blue Ivy Coaching, Mexico

HC: IDP Education, Global and SI-UK, Global

    • Student support award: Study NSW, New South Wales (NSW) Government, Australia – International Student Temporary Crisis Accommodation Scheme and Kaplan Business School, Australia – COVID-19 Student Welfare Plan

HC: The Institute of International Education, US – The IIE Emergency Student Fund: COVID-19 Response and iCent, Canada – COVID Safe Canada Program – iCent App

    •  Sustainability international impact award: Universitas 21 [U21], UK

HC: International House World Organisation, UK and Green School International, Indonesia – Green School Bali

    • Lifetime impact award: Arlene Griffiths

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