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The goal of transforming lives remains unchanged

Hosting The PIEoneer Awards is a highlight of my professional year: I get to congratulate winners as they come up on stage at the Guildhall – an awe-inspiring venue in central London – and see them accept an award which is a testament to ingenuity, innovation and usually, sheer hard work by many.

"We all felt like we needed a multilateral pat on the back"

I know it must be disappointing for those who don’t win (it’s third time hoping for The PIE Exec Search at this year’s Education Investor awards so I do know how it feels)… but there is always a sense of camaraderie and community at this event.

This year more than ever, I think we all felt like we needed a multilateral pat on the back and the atmosphere was exciting – even for those tuning in virtually, I am assured!

We’re keen to ensure that we continue to highlight the work of the prestigious PIEoneer Awards 2021 winners, so I’m delighted that two of them are the opening and closing plenary speaker at our next virtual summit, The PIE Live.

Springing a surprise Lifetime Impact award on to Arlene Griffiths was definitely the cherry on the pie for me: a stealth award that no one gets to enter and judges don’t have to score.

This award was the result of many of Arlene’s colleagues reaching out to us to ask how we might help commemorate her long career helping others and contributing to the collective ambitions of many. She will be our opening keynote speaker, reflecting on her career in the UK and US and the development of the sector.

And our closing speaker will be Denise O’Brien, someone else who has had an illustrious career on the other side of the world in Australia.

Denise is General Manager, International Education at TAFE Queensland, which helps deliver the Australia Pacific Training Coalition – our PIEoneer of the Year winner in 2021.

Established by the Australian government and delivered in collaboration with TAFE Queensland: “APTC represents a unique aid-approach, placing technical and vocational education and training at the heart of development and reform in the Pacific,” explained Denise in the submission this year.

It provides access to learning and employment for some of the most vulnerable and geographically remote people in the world.

“The learnings and success of the world-first APTC project development, management and outcomes will inform best-practice implementation of future TVET-based [training and vocational education] aid projects at the international level for many years to come.”

Using education and training to empower disadvantaged communities seems like a great focus for our closing plenary this year – Denise will also be speaking more broadly about other impacts and innovations that TAFE Queensland is spearheading.

“The success will inform best-practice implementation of TVET-based aid projects for many years to come”

We’ll be reflecting on all aspects of the student journey, from marketing and recruitment (an area we regularly focus on given the huge tech investment in this space), to mental wellbeing and support, through to new models of education and remote delivery/cyber security and finally, employability.

We aim to help you all become accustomed to a new operating paradigm – one in which the goal of transforming lives remains unchanged.

I hope to see you at The PIE Live.

Amy Baker is the CEO of The PIE and one of the hosts of The PIEoneer Awards which were in their fifth year in 2021.  The PIE Live begins October 18 with early access for appointment-booking. It features panel discussions focused on country trends, various aspects of the student journey, and regular networking opportunities for the global international education community.


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