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Ashleigh Porter-Exley

Ashleigh Porter-Exley

Queens Young Leader & Winner of the Young Apprentice

At the age of 17, Ashleigh was chosen to be a candidate on BBC Young apprentice. A record number of 38,000 people applied for the show with Lord Sugar choosing Ashleigh as the winner down to her sheer and utter determination.

More recently, Ashleigh was awarded as a Queens Young Leader. The award was set out to discover, celebrate and support exceptional young people from every Commonwealth nation who are leading the way in transforming the lives of those around them. Ashleigh was given this accolade due to her work in Education and is recognised as an Apprenticeship and Enterprise ambassador which sees Ashleigh running a non profit organisation in education and speaking in parliament on topics effecting thousands of young people.

Ashleigh, who is currently 24 years of age, started work at the age of 13 and at one point worked 4 jobs alongside her studies. At school Ashleigh was never a naturally academic student but worked hard to achieve 14 GCSE grade C and above which enabled her to secure an Apprenticeship in accountancy. She then moved on to an advanced apprenticeship with the UKs Number 1 Letting agents whilst studying Business and administration.

Ashleigh has worked with thousands of young people across the country representing and supporting various organisations with vested interest in young people. These include Inspiring learning, The National Enterprise challenge, NCS, NCOP and she holds a role as National Schools Partnerships Manager with Tes.

Ashleigh hopes to show students that its ambition combined with hard work that gets you places, she worked hard for qualifications and awards obtained and she did not come from a wealthy background. She is driven, full of true Yorkshire grit and passionate about creating life changing opportunities for young people!

Testimonials from Teachers

"Ashleigh was great – professional, low maintenance (we laughed about some speakers being ‘diva-ish!’), punctual … I could go on. She got the perfect balance in the room and was so confident in her speech, with lots of laughs and great ‘banter’ that suited everyone. We had a very diverse audience ranging from young apprentices of 16 to, parents, friends, professionals, CEO’s, Chancellors so a fairly difficult pitch – but this didn’t faze Ashleigh, from what I could tell anyway. I’m very pleased that I chose Ashleigh to be a keynote speaker at our event."

– Laura Lydia Watts, Project Manager, Northamptonshire Health and Care Partnership

"The students were engaged and the story and message was good."

– Tony Marks, Assistant Headteacher, Carleton High School

"Ashleigh was fantastic! She really worked the room and the young people really engaged with her. By the time it came around to the Q&A section, we could have gone on for another hour. Thank you very much!"

– Seetal Jassal, Outreach and Widening Participation Co-ordinator, The University of Sheffield

"The event went really well thank you. Ashleigh's speech was fantastic - the kids loved her & it hit all the key points we were wanting to get across to them - I'd love it if we could make it a yearly thing."

– John Crofts, PSHE & Careers Coordinator/Teacher of PE, Forge Valley School

"Ashleigh was really very good. She is a confident individual that is a real natural in these types of situations. Her talk and various anecdotes were well received and she maintained the attention of all present with her interesting and amusing talk."

– Colm Kealy, Head of Business, Shrewsbury School

"Ashley was fantastic during the day, personable and enthusiastic, and worked well with our other business visitors and staff. She was very hands on and really enthused and motivated the students. We had tasked her with a tough day circulating rooms and she really took on board her role and was a credit to your company - showing excellent teaching credentials throughout the day too.

Finally, in our school assembly, though we had some minor organisational issues to contend with, when speaking to our audience Ashley had them all captivated for the time - so this was excellent!"

– Jake Collings, English and Business Studies, Wildern School

"I heard Ashleigh speak at an Apprenticeship celebration event. She is an inspiring young woman who has so much energy to share, that she can influence and coach other young people (and adults!) to take on the World."

– Di McEvoy-Robinson, Joint Owner of 3aaa Aspire Achive Advance

"Ashleigh proved to be very warm, funny and entertaining I think it's really appreciated hearing from a youngster who was only two years ahead of them but had a tale to tell. Thanks and kind regards"

– Peter Crowe, Tibshelf College

"I wanted to quickly email you to say thank you for your support at yesterday's conference. Your presentation was pitched perfectly for the audience and your willingness to involve yourself made such a difference - particularly the table drumming, award giving Entrepreneur section!"

– Cathryn Henry, North Hertforshire College

"The feedback from Ashleigh’s visit has been fantastic. The girls all felt that they were able to connect with her and really engaged in Ashleigh’s presentation. Comments of ‘how inspiring ’ and ‘look what she has been able to achieve in such a short space of time.’ They found the presentation original, inspiring, inventive and fun. High praise indeed! "

– Amanda Askew-Higgin, Queen Margaret’s School

"Last Friday was quite simply amazing! Ashleigh was such an outstanding speaker and the event could not have gone any better. She was fantastic with the children and really inspired them - they were all so inspired by her and delighted to meet her!! Having Ashleigh there created a buzz for the event and we would definitely love to her back again!"

– Robin Flack, Assistant Head, Warren Primary School

"It was fantastic, after a quiet start it was good to see the students become engaged in what they were doing. We would definitely contact you again in the future. I think the students appreciated and could communicate with you being just a little bit older than them – comments were they felt at ease with you and enjoyed that you weren't ‘a boring speaker’. It was nice to see them get involved and a few of them actually came out with good ideas."

– Alexandra Bailey, Administrator MC6

"Thoroughly enjoyed by the student’s it encouraged our students to handle uncertainty and respond positively to change, to create and implement new ideas and ways of doing things, and to take and manage risks. It helps them develop a 'can do' attitude and the drive to make ideas happen."

– Vicki Mee, Merchant Taylor's School​

The talk went well. Ashleigh was a very informative and lively speaker and got some good points across to the students. It was disappointing for us that we couldn’t run our conference face to face but it was a good experience for the students and we were able to have more log in to the event at the time which is positive.

– Emily Jewell, Quality and Standards Coach, Reaseheath College

"She was fab, thanks. Very engaging and exactly hit the mark to inspire our Year 11. Friendly and chatty, the students really liked her. I would highly recommend her".

– Mrs Pam Barker, Associate Assistant Headteacher, Ellesmere Port Catholic High School

"Ashleigh was fantastic! She really suited the event and we received great feedback."

– Amy Gethin, Marketing Manager, Doncaster College and University Centre

"Ashleigh is absolutely fantastic! She was so good with the kids, engaging with them, getting them into position for photos. My favourite speaker that we’ve ever had!"

– Tina Barnett, PA to the Principal/Leadership Support, Haughton Academy

"Ashleigh was absolutely fantastic. She was great with the children and all those in attendance agreed it was a very inspirational and thought provoking hour."

– Richard Topley, Assistant Headteacher, The Bolsover School

"Thank you so much for arranging this talk - we really enjoyed Ashleigh's story and visit. She was experienced and worked well with our students to share her ideas and the message for them was perfect. She was great beforehand organising her time and what to speak about too. Her delivery was great and we really enjoyed her visiting. She took control and is a definite asset to your organisation, thank you so much!"

– Lindsay Carling ,Making a Change Senior Leader and Head of Technology and Enterprise, High Tunstall College of Science

"It was really good thank you! Ashleigh was really inspirational, and her story was really relevant to a lot of children in our school"

– Lauren Gray, Assistant Principal, Bruntcliffe Academy

"Ashleigh was great. Really engaging and the students really enjoyed it. We were very impressed."

– Daniel Hargreaves, The Lowry Academy, Assistant Principal

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