An inspirational woman who won the BBC’s Young Apprentice and the Queen’s Young Leaders award will be the speaker at a Shropshire awards ceremony next year.
Ashleigh Porter-Exley aims to prove to children that dreams can be achieved if you fight hard enough.
She won the final series of the BBC1 show the Young Apprentice in 2012 and was recently named as a Queen’s Young Leader and Apprenticeship and Enterprise Ambassador for the UK.
Ashleigh, whose appearance is sponsored by Shropshire public relations company J&PR, will share her experiences at the 2017 Businesses for Children Awards ceremony taking place on March 11 at The Park Inn, Telford.
The awards ceremony is in its fourth year and celebrates businesses, organisations and charities which support and provide opportunities for children and young people.
Ashleigh will be the main guest speaker at the awards ceremony, which is expected to attract more than 250 guests.
Currently aged just 22, Ashleigh started work at the age of 13 and at one point worked four jobs alongside her studies.
She says she was never a naturally academic student but worked hard to achieve 14 GCSE grade C and above which enabled her to secure herself an apprenticeship in accountancy.
She then moved on to an advanced apprenticeship with a letting agents whilst studying business and administration.
Since appearing on the BBC Young Apprentice, where Lord Sugar chose her as the winner down to her ‘sheer and utter graft’, Ashleigh has worked with thousands of young people across the country, representing various organisations with a vested interested in young people.
Andra Brasovanu, awards co-ordinator for 2017, said having such an inspirational speaker for young people at the ceremony was fantastic.
She said: “We are thrilled that Ashleigh has agreed to attend the ceremony and speak to the guests.
“There will be representatives from businesses, charities and organisations, who all work with children, so hearing Ashleigh’s story will be truly inspiring to everyone.”
Categories for 2017 include Children’s Charity, Shropshire Childminder, Children’s Product, Business for Babes, Nursery/Pre-school, Educational Business and Sports Business.
The 2017 awards ceremony will also include a new volunteer category.
The evening, which will be hosted by BBC Shropshire film critic Carl Jones, will begin with a drinks reception at 6.45pm.
Visit www.bcawards.co.uk for more information about the awards, to nominate a company or to become a sponsor.