The PIEoneer Awards

With a distinguished judging panel representing geographical and professional diversity, The PIEoneer Awards recognise both individuals and organisations who are pushing professional standards, evolving their engagement or redefining the international student experience. 

Entries for The PIEoneer Awards 2019 will open in early 2019. 

When and where

The PIEoneer Awards 2018 were held on Friday 7th September in central London, at 8 Northumberland Avenue.

The 2019 awards will be held in London, just before EAIE. More details coming soon. 

2018 Judges

Award Categories

Student support award

What has your company or institution set in place to ensure that international students feel welcomed, meet domestic students and are able to assimilate successfully? Lunch clubs, education programming that necessitates co-working with partners, SMS helplines, specific activities for international students such as away-days, Meet-the-Mayor initiatives, mentoring, buddy-systems. There are a myriad of initiatives around the world and we would love to hear about the success of yours in this category. You don’t have to be an educational institution but you have to have developed a product or service that is primarily targeted at international students. 

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Education agency of the year

Education agencies are a vital part of the international education industry and essential partners to educators, reporting on local student trends and market factors quickly, and helping shape the evolving international education market. Many are run by innovative business people who have evolved to offer language testing, visa counselling, study abroad fairs and non-education related travel advice and products. 

This category is an opportunity for agency directors to submit their own entry, or for schools, colleges and universities to nominate an agent partner for the award. 

We want to hear about exceptional service, innovative collaborative campaigns or beyond-the-call-of-duty support for student clients. Other ideas for nomination-worthy agencies include those trying new ideas to recruit students in a depressed market, or those building productive relations within their domestic agency industry or with embassies in their country. Expansion into new territories or new product lines will also be considered as innovative.

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Championing diversity award

International education and study abroad experiences can be life-changing but also expensive. How does your company, agency, school, college or university help to encourage students from backgrounds that are unlikely to lead to study abroad participation? Do you have a scholarship scheme? How does it work? Do you make an effort to encourage ethnic minorities to study abroad? What about families from financially disadvantaged backgrounds, or refugee students whose lives are on hold while they live in an unfamiliar country? There are many such schemes but we are keen to hear about successes in widening participation/diversity in the last calendar year that you may have achieved. 

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International alumni of the year

There are many great examples of international students who have made a huge contribution to either their institution and/or the wider community in which they live. We’d like to hear examples of super assimilation, inspiring achievement and find out how an institution has helped foster a student’s approach to community engagement. Positive mentoring is expected to play a role in the achievements of the alumni shortlisted. But likewise, international alumni are invited to nominate themselves in this category. The award will be presented to the host institution of the student if they are not able to attend our awards event in person. 
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Outstanding contribution to the industry

In this category, we accept nominations on behalf of others. We are looking for nominated individuals who have helped evolve or shape the international education sector. They do not have to have worked in the industry for a minimum period, but their influence in the field and how the international education industry has developed must be clearly evidenced.

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Progressive education delivery award

How does the way you teach work? How do you ensure your students significantly gain in confidence in speaking a new language and have a workable language use, rather than just learning to pass a test? How do you ensure your pathway program prepares your students for success: not just matriculation to a degree program, but for a rewarding degree education that they fully profit from and succeed at? And at any education level, have you developed a program that is brave, different, and focused on the student’s life journey in the 21st century? In this category, we’re keen to hear from educators that believe they offer something that is unique, important or successful for some reason. 

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Marketing campaign of the year

In this category we would like to know about Inspirational and inventive marketing campaigns. There are some super inventive campaigns out there, which capture students’ imagination and reaffirm the life-changing power of education. But they don’t have to be just education campaigns from education providers or agencies - there are many service providers offering support to the sector via language testing, housing support, insurance etc. who may also have a unique marketing campaign that deserves recognition for its success, reach, message or impact. 

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Association of the year

What makes you, as an association, vital to your membership? Is your advocacy action gaining traction? Do you represent and campaign for a collection of companies or organisations that would otherwise be un-unified and unrepresented? What have you achieved for your members, in terms of cohesion, engagement with students, or with government or the general public? We’d like to hear about much of the commendable (and often, unpaid) work that happens within associations to augment the interests of their members which operate in the international education industry. 

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Public / private partnership of the year

Public/private partnerships have been one of the defining trends of the last decade, with assets such as recruitment expertise or tech capabilities around remote delivery of education making private sector operators strong partners for universities and colleges, which are seeking to expand and innovate, and may wish to leverage the expertise of private companies. Some partnerships take more subtle forms, such as market-entry facilitation via a specialist company or the white labelled outsourcing of accommodation or conversion activity. We’re keen to hear about some of the many successful partnerships and their achievements in the last 12 months (1st January - 31st December 2017).

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Digital innovation of the year

Using technology to lead learning, or implementing online or blended modules, can have a significant impact on the way teachers teach and students learn. Alternatively, we’re keen to hear how a new digital innovation is solving a problem faced by international educators, perhaps using software to better identify international students who need extra support, or to reach and identify potential students in their own country while they are considering their study options. What we’d like to uncover is an innovative use of technology which has a clear success story on its impact for international students or on international educators working in their role in-country or across borders. 

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Language educator of the year

In this category we want to hear from language providers who are going the extra mile to provide international students with a stand-out experience, whether they are studying for 1 week or 1 year. How do you ensure students are engaged and motivated for the duration of their course? How do you tailor your provision so that students have support that is specific to them? Do you facilitate interactions with your local community so students gain confidence speaking to people outside of your institution? Even if you have a limited budget available to develop course materials or invest in your facilities, we want to hear about how you are innovating the student experience to deliver an exceptional level of service to your students, so that they develop their language skills alongside becoming confident communicators. 

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Real life learning award

In this category we’d like to hear from organisations who offer real life learning programs or products overseas, comprising for example a short-term study abroad program with an outside classroom element; volunteering program or internship. How do you approach the placement of students to ensure a good fit on both sides? How do you go the extra mile to ensure students are well-supported throughout their program and once it finishes? What positive impact does the program or product have on the local community or organisation where the student is placed? As increasing numbers of students are seeking learning experiences that take place beyond a classroom, we are keen to hear about the innovative work being done in this sector of the industry.  

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PIEoneer of the year

This award is open to both organisations and individuals who can demonstrate their commitment to improving some facet of the international education industry. This could be: a new program, service, charitable mission, agent relations, quality accreditation, marketing, teaching, social engagement, visa advice, widening participation, recruitment or retention achievement, career planning etc. There is no timeframe around this award, it can be awarded to an organisation or person who has been working on their nominated project, business or idea for more than one year. Entrants in other categories can enter this category, which is considered the ‘crowning achievement’ award, if they believe their entry demonstrates genuine change and innovation that can impact the wider industry. 

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Accommodation provider of the year

Accommodation providers who believe they should enter this category might be a university’s own estates department, a property management company, accommodation investment company, host family organisation or property development portfolio. The key to winning this award will be to demonstrate a pro-active effort to provide services that are specifically designed or oriented to an international student audience. Do you cultivate a mixed placement of international and domestic students to help facilitate integration? How do you reach and ensure appropriate provision for international students? What about considering the social life of international students, what social spaces are provided, how do you listen to student clients, and understand what they want? As accommodation is becoming as competitive and wide-ranging as the education sector it supports, we’re keen to honour those who can show high levels of international student satisfaction.

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The PIEoneer Awards 2019

Save the date: The PIEoneer Awards 2019 will be held in September, just before EAIE - date coming soon!