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 Ashley’s story is much more than this, it is a story of overcoming 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 .He has enormous enthusiasm and passion to try to use his story as a tool to motivate and propel others to face their challenges with a sense of optimism and triumph.
Before joining the BBC News TV, Radio and digital team as a reporter across all platforms, Ashley was a BBC broadcast journalist and Victoria Derbyshire reporter. This summer Ashley was a key reporter in Russia for the Fifa 2018 World Cup. . He was nominated for the Young Talent of the Year award at this year’s RTS Television Journalism Awards.
His speaking topics include:
- Achieving against all odds
- Will to win
- Overcoming adversity
- Achieving your goals
“We were delighted when Ashley agreed to chair a panel at our event – made up of eight young speakers, aged from 14-22. Ashley was absolutely brilliant in this role, supporting all the young speakers to feel comfortable, and making sure they were all given equal opportunities to participate, as well as sharing his own, incredible story. Ashley’s warm and inclusive style shone through at all times.”
Unicef UK Child Friendly Cities & Communities programme
“Ashley is a brilliant role model and the perfect champion for all that the awards stand for. We’re thrilled that he has chosen to support the charity, which gives dedicated, committed and passionate social workers the recognition they deserve.”
Chair of the Social Worker of the Year Awards
“Our day was aimed at Primary Schools and addressing attachment and trauma and the importance of raising aspiration and attainment for looked after children. Ashley’s talk helped to cement in the minds of teachers the value of supporting children’s aspiration and how with the right support and encouragement teachers can make a big difference to children’s experience of education. Ashley’s speech was Informative and passionate and he was able to relate and adapt this to our wide audience. Ashley has the gift of natural communication; this was appreciated by all those who had the opportunity to hear him. The impact on our audience was profound and several delegates made the effort to meet up with Ashley after his speech to feedback how much they appreciated his input.”
Business Support Officer, Staffordshire County Council