Find 'Fame' with stars

October 19, 2001

South Birmingham College students may soon be majoring in hip hop, garage, and popular reggae at a "Fame school" it is forming in partnership with the band UB40.

Over a year of talks with the Birmingham-based band and Birmingham City Council have resulted in plans to create the school as part of a £15 million development of the college's Digbeth campus.

Members of UB40, who set up their independent studios 19 years ago and have sold millions of records, will help provide pop masterclasses and tutorial support. They may also recruit the most talented students to their own labels.

The college already has 300 students on its higher national diploma multimedia and music performance courses run in collaboration with the University of Central England.

Barry Coleman, assistant principal of the college, said many of the students would fit well into the "Fame school" mould.

He said: "We have been picking up a lot of raw talent from the inner cities. Many of these students are disaffected with the formal education system, and we are pulling them back and hoping they can progress through to degree level. That means that even if they do not become star performers, they will have gained a set of skills that will help them to progress further."

UB40's studios near the site are expected to be expanded to include recording, rehearsing and performing facilities.

Mr Coleman said: "Some may say the band is a bit dated, but they have just knocked out a successful album, and we think their help is going to prove invaluable."

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