Eight students celebrate new beginnings as winners of the British Council's IELTS Awards 2014

Eight bright young winners are celebrating the exciting possibilities that this academic year will bring as they were honored as winners of the British Council IELTS Award 2014 earlier this month. This was the fifth edition of the award and this year, it coincides with the 25th anniversary of IELTS celebrated worldwide.

The winners Ahish Vishwanatha from Bangalore, Neelakshi Rajeev Tewari from Gurgaon, Nikita Kohli from Mumbai, Raghuvir Dass from New Delhi, Ritwik Athalye from Pune, Supreet Mahanti from New Delhi, Wilston Prajwal Dsouza from Mangalore and Yashna Malhotra from Mumbai win an award of INR 300,000 each towards the cost of their tuition fees. They will soon set off for their postgraduate study programmes in the UK, the US, Canada and Germany on courses ranging from web design to international development.

As always, the panel of judges, this year were impressed by the quantity and quality of the applicants. The panel struggled with selecting 8 from the 40 shortlisted candidates. These 40 had been selected from thousands of applicants after a rigorous screening process which included the writing of an essay, a presentation on a specified subject and interviews. 

The ceremony, which was held at the Taj Deccan in Hyderabad on 7 August 2014, was attended by the winners and their family and friends as well as members of the media. Sarah Deverall, Director Examinations India set the tone for the evening in her welcome speech which highlighted the fantastic achievements of each of the student recipients of the 2014 awards, and the variety of international destinations that they were heading to for their education. Sarah also used the opportunity to present an overview of the role of British Council in India, the 25th anniversary of IELTS and the process of selection for IELTS awards. She reiterated how the test development and administration had consistently helped students, professionals and those seeking opportunities in English-speaking countries abroad to achieve their goals.

The special guest for the event, British Deputy High Commissioner in Hyderabad Andrew McAllister, also congratulated the students on their success. In his address he focused on the opportunities that the Awards would afford the winners in their further studies and highlighted the fantastic opportunities in higher education in the UK, among other destination education markets.

Each of the winners was then presented with their cheque and trophy by Andrew McAllister and Sarah Deverall. The winners were also invited to share with the gathering their ambitions and their future plans. One of the winners, was unable to attend the event in person, but joined in the festivities via a seamless Skype link from the US. His brother accepted the cheque and trophy in his place.

Two winners from IELTS Awards announced in 2011 and 2012 also joined the celebration and shared their own experiences with the winners. They emphasized the opportunities that had opened up for them through the IELTS Awards and the ways in which the British Council has supported them since their wins.