TV’s Ashleigh vows to encourage apprenticeship take-up
A FORMER winner of TV’s Young Apprentice has vowed to use her experience to encourage young people to take up apprenticeships.
Ashleigh Porter-Exley (21), of Brampton, has just been presented with an award by the Queen and wants others to follow in her footsteps.
The former Wath Comprehensive School pupil won Lord Sugar’s hunt for a new Young Apprentice on the BBC in 2012 when she was 17 and hasn’t looked back.
She said she had been offered lucrative positions after her contest success but decided to stay up north and help other young people develop their careers.
Ashleigh was presented with the Queen’s Young Leaders Award at Buckingham Palace by the Queen — one of only 60 young people from across the Commonwealth to be honoured.
Ashleigh said: “It was incredible.
“It was out of this world. I would not have thought that, as a 15-year-old from Wath, I would be meeting the Queen at Buckingham Palace.”
Ashleigh said that she now wanted to encourage others to consider taking apprenticeships as sixth form and university did not suit everybody.
“I took the apprentice route at 16,” she said.
“It was not an option that was pushed by most people.
“When I sat there at 16 in front of my careers advisors, I was told I should definitely go to sixth form and Sheffield University.
“In the past, the view was that people did apprenticeships if they didn’t get into sixth forms.
“People are very narrow-minded about apprenticeships.
“I think the attitude to apprenticeships is much better now. For schools it’s very difficult because they are not given enough information about them.”
Ashleigh is now an Apprenticeship and Enterprise Ambassador, as well as teaching enterprise skills. She works full-time for Inspiring Learning but also works for the National Citizen Service.
She is often seen giving speeches to young people at schools to encourage them to consider the career options available, especially apprenticeships.
Ashleigh said: “I am just going to continue doing the work I am doing.
“Now I have a really great career.”