Radio star Phil Upton is heading back to the classroom for a new career tutoring the next generation of broadcast talent.
The Ex-BBC WM presenter, who quit the breakfast show back in April after six years at the station, has been unveiled as a tutor at Birmingham Ormiston Academy (BOA).
The £25 million “fame academy” is a digital and performing arts school based at Millennium Point and is modelled on the BRIT School in London, which launched the careers of singers such as Leona Lewis and Adele.
As well as BTEC qualifications in performing arts and music, the academy also offers courses in creative media, which includes radio and TV production working with industry-standard technology.
From September, Mr Upton will be mentoring budding broadcasters in the academy’s radio studios for three mornings a week.
The 45-year-old insisted he wasn’t about to hang up his headphones yet, and will continue in his current drive time radio slot at BBC Coventry and Warwickshire, as well as filming for BBC1’s Inside Out.
The father-of-two said: “I’m really excited to be part of it and can’t wait for September to start.
“I’ll be coming in to breed the next generation of broadcasters, using my 20 years’ experience in both commercial radio and the BBC.
“The knowledge I have will help students have the best possible chance to go on to work in the radio industry.”
Mr Upton will be working with BTEC students producing their own shows at the school’s in-house radio station.
Phil was approached to join the staff after developing close links with the school after featuring BOA on his WM show.
He said: “When I was shown around I jokingly mumbled under my breath ‘blimey, I should come and work here, this is fantastic’.
“And then I was invited to a show over Christmas, where they played a little excerpt of Emma, one of the radio students. Straight away I could absolutely see a bit of myself in the show reel, and thought ‘I can help these students’.
“Twenty-odd years ago, I was a student at Matthew Boulton Technical College, and all I ever wanted to do was Les Ross in the morning on BRMB. I used to listen to him every morning. I see that drive in them too.”
He added he’d been enjoying life since leaving the breakfast show.
“After six years of waking up at 4am, life is a lot more sociable,” he said.
“I’ll still be on the radio, so this for me is having my cake and eating it. I’m able to do this three mornings a week and fulfil my BBC commitments the rest of the week so it’s more fluid.”
News of Mr Upton’s appointment comes as BOA – which only opened last year – prepares to increase the number of students from 300 to 800 from the autumn. BOA was only open to sixth-formers for the first year, but will welcome 14-16 year-olds in September.
Principal Gaynor Cheshire said the school had been “inundated” with youngsters desperate for a place, with eight students battling it out for every available place on some courses.
She said: “This year has been a roller coaster. There has been such enthusiasm and energy from the students and the staff, and children have come out with some phenomenal work.
“The BRIT School has been open 21 years now and it did take them a good 10, 12 years to get established.
“We were lucky because we were piggybacking on a lot of what they do, but I don’t think we thought that looking to year two, we would be as oversubscribed as we are now.”
BOA is sponsored by education charity Ormiston Trust, Birmingham City University and is partnered with Maverick TV and the BRIT School.
Students have also worked with the Birmingham Rep, and BOA last month announced that Ammo Talwar, music promoter and founder of Punch Records, had been appointed to the board of directors.
Ms Cheshire said the strength of the partnerships made it stand out from other schools.
She said: “Eighteen months ago, we had a handful of people who were partnering us, that now goes on to several pages.
“That is a key way forward for us, we want our creative partners to work with us to develop the curriculum.
“We have already said that would make us different from other institutions our curriculum is underpinned by creative industry professionals.
“Its important that our students get the chance to work with industry professionals, whether in dance, music, broadcasting.
“What we have in Phil is a professional who can pass on his knowledge to students.”