PIEoneer awards 2023 – Digital innovation of the year

Blog for members
07 September 2023
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Here at UKCISA, we are delighted to have been nominated in several categories at this year’s PIEoneer Awards. Established by The PIE – an independent media, recruitment and events company – the PIEoneer awards recognise the best innovations and achievements, from both individuals and organisations, across the global education industry, voted on by a geographically and professionally diverse judging panel. 

Under Digital innovation of the year, UKCISA has been recognised in two categories. Read on for UKCISA Chief Executive Anne Marie Graham’s thoughts on our nominations. 


UKCISA has been nominated in two Digital innovation of the year categories (‘assessment and credentials’ and ‘technology’) in collaboration with the British Council, eCom and BUILA on the UK Agent Quality Framework - can you outline the work that went into this?  

I’m delighted to see this pivotal project recognised in the PIEoneer awards this year. Colleagues across our partners in British Council, eCom and BUILA have all contributed their skills and expertise to develop a comprehensive framework which helps ensure that students understand what to expect from using an education agent. We are happy to contribute our skills to help produce the student-facing elements of the project.  

Where did the need for the framework arise from, and how will its work impact people’s lives in the future?  

Education agents and how UK universities work with them is a theme that is regularly discussed and debated. The Agent Quality Framework is an important tool that will help the sector better communicate its work with agents to international students and to policymakers. UKCISA is proud to be a part of the framework development, and help ensure that the student perspective is considered in developing tools and solutions. 

How did the collaboration with the British Council, eCom and BUILA come about, and what was it like to work with them on this project?  

We worked with BUILA to support research into education agents, with a focus on the international student experience. Many international students access a UK education through an agent, and we wanted to ensure that the student voice was incorporated into any developments. UKCISA supported the production of a guide for international students on agents and the framework, and, following the recommendations of the research, we’ve continued to work in partnership with a view to making sure the student voice is heard.  

Are there any teams or individuals from UKCISA whose work in this you would like to particularly commend/highlight?  

It’s been a team effort at UKCISA with a lot of input from Julie Allen, our Director of Member Services and Policy, as well as the team leading our #WeAreInternational Student Ambassadors, headed up by Yinbo Yu. 

What does it mean for you and UKCISA as an organisation to be recognised for this work?  

It’s always rewarding to see the work of our organisation recognised, but it’s particularly satisfying to see a project that will directly benefit international students gain the recognition of the sector. 


You can download the UK Agent Quality Framework here.