Care leaver and BBC reporter to host Social Worker of the Year Awards
The Social Worker of the Year Awards has announced that BBC News Reporter Ashley John-Baptiste, who as a care leaver himself is passionate about raising the aspirations of looked-after children, will present the 2018 awards in November.
The Social Work Awards charity was established in 2006 and aims to improve understanding of the challenging and diverse sector and recognise social workers’ hard work and dedication in helping to transform people’s lives. Ashley will host the awards ceremony, which will celebrate the many outstanding achievements of practitioners, social work teams and organisations across the country.
Ashley was taken into care at the age of four, growing up between several different foster families and children’s homes across South London. He went on to study history at the University of Cambridge, graduating with a 2:1 degree.
A talented singer-songwriter, 29-year-old Ashley appeared on ITVs ‘X Factor’ as part of boyband ‘The Risk’, before leaving to pursue a career in media. In 2012 he filmed a documentary called ‘Care Home Kids: Looking for Love’, which looked at children growing up in the UK care system with little chance of adoption.
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.
Speaking ahead of the awards, Ashley said: “I know from personal experience how critical and important the work that social workers do is, especially in supporting young people who find themselves in difficult and challenging circumstances. I am delighted to be involved with the awards and I look forward to meeting all the finalists at the ceremony in November.”
Peter Hay CBE, Chair of the Social Worker of the Year Awards, said: “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.”
This year the awards received a record-breaking number of nominations and 93 social workers and social work teams in both children’s and adult services have been selected as finalists across 16 different categories. The winners from each category will be announced at the ceremony in London in November.