Ashley John-Baptiste is a young BBC broadcast journalist and presenter who has a remarkable story of how he overcame his troubled childhood to study at one of the world’s best universities.
Many will remember Ashley as the member of boy band group ‘The Risk’ who famously quit ITV’s ‘X Factor’, in order to pursue a career in media, during the live final show. However there is more to Ashley than meets the eye…the 26 year old overcame tremendous adversity to win a place to study history at Cambridge – and then graduate with a 2.1.
Ashley grew up in South London, where he was born to a black father and a white mother and at the age of four he was taken into care. He grew up being shuttled between foster families and children’s homes and moved primary school three times. A bright student, he attended a comprehensive school which had three times the number of children from deprived backgrounds than the national average. There, with the help of his MP, he battled to win a place at Cambridge. Ashley says “If it wasn’t for my MP fighting for me, I wouldn’t have got the support I needed to go.” Whilst at Cambridge, Ashley acted as a mentor to other students who grew up in care.
Ashley, who is championing for a change in fostering laws, tells the compelling, inspiring and sometimes humorous story of his childhood and how to your achieve goals, follow your dreams and never give up. Ashley has enormous enthusiasm and passion to use his story as a tool to motivate and propel others to face their challenges with a sense of optimism and triumph.
Ashley is now reporting for BBC 2’s Victoria Derbyshire programme and presenting the popular BBC Radio 4 ‘Seriously’ podcast.
• Achieving against all odds
• Will to win
• Overcoming adversity
• Achieving your goals
“Ashley’s style was perfect for the event and his audience. His speech had a very positive effect on the students, in particular to those who had similar backgrounds to Ashley. The students loved his singing at the end of the talk and were delighted that Ashley stayed around for photos with them.” Peterborough Regional College
“Ashley’s style was casual but professional, engaging and fluent as he was able to reach a broad audience from Schools, Social Workers, Foster Carers and most importantly children. It was a very heartfelt speech which made some member of the audience quite emotional; there was a message for everyone especially for schools how they need to provide constant support and guidance for Looked After Children, I think the Foster Carers appreciated this as well. His speech underpinned our conference theme of Attainment and Progress and how Looked After Children can succeed as well as any other student.” Staffordshire County Council
“Ashley was excellent; it was a pleasure to meet him. He fully met the brief provided which was to talk about his past, highlight individuals that were influential in supporting him through his education and to motivate Governors to continue to be influential in their school roles. His speaking style was relaxed, engaging, personable, inspiring and motivational. The audience were delighted with his speech with comments such as “Superb”, “Inspirational”, “Excellent choice”, “Brilliant motivational speaker” and “Amazing main speaker! I’d vote for him as Lord Mayor of London”! Governor Support Specialist Officer at Coventry City Council
“Ashley was fantastic! He had a tremendous impact on the audience; many said they felt inspired, motivated and energised after his speech.” The Arthur Terry Learning Partnership
“Ashley was very engaging and provided a good mix of serious stories together with fun engagement with the audience and music, his presentation exceeded our expectations. The feedback we have received has been excellent, Ashley left the room buzzing – everyone loved it!” Rochdale Borough Council
“Ashley was engaging and supportive of what we were trying to do and clearly covered all areas as briefed previously. His presentation was excellent with some very good points made in the follow up sessions by the students and their dads. His impact on the audience was very positive and did exactly what we wanted it to do.” High Tunstall College of Science
“Ashley’s talk fitted our brief perfectly; it linked in with ‘adventurous leadership’ as his education is the result of someone taking a risk and going the extra mile. Ashley had real impact on the audience– his messages stayed with us for the whole conference – he was in every conversation. Some of the audience have already discussed inviting Ashley to speak again.” Brougham Primary School
“Ashley told his story simply and with eloquence. He got the audience to feel his aspiration and desire to make a good life for himself. …He had some of the audience in tears… His account of the care worker who showed such an intense interest in his schooling was very compelling especially when he said that he thought the worker hadn’t fully realised what an impact he had made on Ashley’s life.
Ashley’s story raised some conflicting emotions in the delegates… I think this is what makes his story so relevant to all those concerned with vulnerable children and young adults.
Ashley also worked an informal session with a group of secondary students. They were simply enthralled and his message really struck home that it is possible to achieve your goals against the odds. He brought a guitarist with him and the musical content added to both the quality, relevance and entertainment aspects” Middlesbrough School Alliance
“On behalf of the Director of Children’s Service – Carmel Littleton, I would sincerely like to thank you for delivering the keynote speech for the Thurrock Education Awards 2015. I think you will agree we were able to celebrate in style the hard work and commitment of dedicated staff that are committed to making a difference in young people’s lives. The evening was a great success with many who attended commenting on what an enjoyable evening it had been. Your speech was well received by all and I have received many positive comments to that effect. The speech was pitched exactly right for the audience and the awards ceremony. Thank you again for being part of such an enjoyable event.” Thurrock Council
“We had the pleasure of having Ashley John-Baptiste as one of our special guests at The Fostering Network’s 2015 Fostering Excellence Awards. He spent the evening talking to children in care, foster carers, social workers, and even The Duchess of Cambridge, and he showed his kind, engaging, and genuine nature throughout. The young people he presented an award to were delighted to meet someone who has worked so hard to achieve his own goals, and commented on how inspiring it was. Ashley was a pleasure to have at our awards and we thank him for making a special evening that bit more special.” The Fostering Network
“The young people were genuinely inspired and blown away by Ashley. It was very moving, there were even a few tear from the support workers seeing how affected the young people were. When Ashley sung to the group we all had goose bumps. We very much hope he can come again one day. Thank you very much.” DCH Group
“Ashley’s delivery and style was at the perfect pitch for the audience. He was professional, whilst still presenting personal and sensitive issues for not only himself, but for the audience concerned. He was relaxed, engaging, humorous and used language the young people could understand and relate to. The presentation very much met our requirements. Ashley was able to engage, relate and inspire the young people, particularly as he so willingly spoke of his own personal experiences. The musical performance was superb and added a different level to the afternoon. The young people and staff were very pleased with Ashley. We have had feedback saying that he has helped motivate young people through his thought provoking presentation.” Hillingdon Children's Rights Service
“Thank you so very much for joining us at the recent Accolades ceremony in Cardiff and for your inspirational speech. We were delighted that you were able to attend and have received a great deal of positive feedback about your speech. You told your story really well. People appreciated your honesty and the tribute you paid to those key individuals in your life who helped you steer a positive path.” Care House, Wales
“Ashley was excellent and I would have no hesitation in recommending him to other Virtual Schools” – Brighton & Hove
“We were really impressed with Ashley. He was excellent. He connected very well with the young people – the attendees loved his music which was great, and they engaged well with his clear, powerful life story. So, all very positive. The band were great to – they complimented him well” Birmingham Mission
“Ashley was brilliant and really seemed to have an impact on the young people..”Oxford Brookes
“Ashley thank you for your excellent and inspirational attendance at our graduation and Awards Evening. We were most grateful for the way in which you lifted the whole occasion with both a pertinent speech and your song. We have received nothing but positive feedback from everyone involved and you truly were an ambassador for everything we stand for – thank you very much” Guildford College
Excellent – and so well received by the audience of students, staff and guests. Very high impact – the students were wowed. Ashley connected perfectly with them! North Chadderton School
Oldham Evening Chronicle – 2nd November 2013
Former x-factor star Ashley John-Baptiste has declared North Chadderton School offically opened, following a £23.9 million pound regeneration project.
University of Cambridge – 22nd July 2010
A Cambridge undergraduate, who spent most of his childhood in care, has organised a conference to inspire other young people in care to aim high….
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