The Royal Television Society has announced BBC presenter and reporter Ashley John-Baptiste as its first ever ambassador for the prestigious RTS bursary schemes, which support students in the field of broadcasting and entertainment.
This year the RTS will be offering an unprecedented 40 bursaries across its two schemes: The Technology Bursary and The TV Production and Journalism Bursary.
In his role as ambassador, Ashley will champion the scheme and motivate students looking at a career in the Television sector, provide his support and share his experiences with current and future bursary students, as well as joining the Education Committee.
Ashley John-Baptiste is an RTS nominated BBC broadcast journalist and Digital Senior Reporter for BBC News. He began his BBC journalism career as a reporter for BBC Two's Victoria Derbyshire programme covering the Grenfell disaster and making original BBC films on issues including interfaith foster care, bullying, and racism on UK university campuses.
Originally from South London, Ashley grew up in the foster care system and went on to win a place at Cambridge University reading history. He successfully competed in ITV’s X Factor as a member of The Risk but chose to leave the music industry to instead pursue a career in media.
Ashley co-presents For Love or Money for BBC One and he has co-hosted The One Show and is part of the regular reporting team. He is committed to using his story as a tool to motivate and propel others to face their challenges with a sense of optimism and triumph.
Ashley was shortlisted for the RTS Young Talent of The Year 2018 award.
Theresa Wise, Royal Television Society CEO, said: “Ashley’s enthusiasm and drive for a more diverse industry aligns completely with the values and ethos of the bursary schemes, and our collective aim to raise the aspirations of individuals who have more difficult starts in life and give them an opportunity to be supported as they embark on the path to working in the broadcasting industry. We are delighted Ashley is on board as an ambassador and look forward to working closely with him on this programme.”
Ashley John-Baptiste, said: “As a looked after child who was shunted between homes, I never had high hopes for my future. Nevertheless, here I am, with a career in broadcasting. I am so thrilled to be the first ambassador for the RTS Bursary Scheme because I am passionate about the fact that broadcasting should consist of people from all walks of life.”
The 2020 bursary scheme launched in February this year and is accepting applications until 30 June 2020.
Eligibility this year has been extended to include students taking Higher National Diplomas at level 5 or 6 in Television, Film Production, Journalism or other related subjects for the Television Production and Journalism bursary, and for relevant subjects such as Computer Science, Engineering, Maths or Physics for the Technology Bursary.
The number of bursaries offered in 2020 will reach 40 across both schemes, with STV matching its commitment from last year and generously funding 10 further bursaries for the 2020 intake.
All3Media and the Steve Hewlett Memorial Fund also contribute to the bursary schemes. To date, the RTS has 162 bursary students and graduates, with the schemes running since 2014.
For more information about the bursaries, please click here.