Christmas is coming and former JLS superstar turned farmer JB Gill is expecting an urgent call from One Direction’s Zayn Malik about collecting his turkey, writes Graham Walker.
Zayn is planning to visit his pal’s new farm with fiancee Perrie Edwards of Little Mix.
TV presenter model Jodie Kidd and JB’s old bandmate Oritsé Williams have also got their orders in.
Which, explains JB, is perfect proof how people’s hidden passions and talents can become big business.
And that’s what he’s doing at Sheffield College, talking not about farming but showbusiness and helping to turn out the city’s next big names - including those wanting to work behind the scenes.
The College approached him to be the public face of a new performing arts course and the JB School of Entertainment Industries was launched three-months ago.
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The two-year full time vocational course equips young people with the skills, knowledge and know-how to become the business brains behind artists, musicians and performers, and develop careers as agents, managers, marketing directors and public relations advisors.
Students gain a recognised qualification, an Extended Diploma, equivalent to three A Levels, which covers theoretical and practical skills.
It is part of a portfolio of courses being developed at the College - to help address a skills shortage in the creative industries, highlighted as a sector for economic growth regionally by Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership’s Strategic Economic Plan for 2015 to 2025.
JB popped in this week to meet some of the first students and others considering the course next year, to share his tips and expertise about the business side of the entertainment industry. He should know.
His X Factor band JLS sold more than 10 million records worldwide, including five UK number ones and made millions for him and band members Marvin Humes, Aston Merrygold and Oritsé Williams.
He’s still very much in showbusiness and will be one of 16 celebrities next month competing in Channel 4’s skiing reality challenge The Jump.
He confirmed there are no plans for a JLS reunion, as yet. But almost a year to the day since they performed publicly for the last time he told how he has also turned his hand to animal farming.
“Perfect proof that there’s not just one spoke to any person’s wheel. This is something I’m very passionate about. I’ve had about 10 acres of land that i wanted to put to good use,” said JB, who has performed to thousands of fans at the Arena but had not other connection with Sheffield - until now.
“Sheffield College actually approached me and said they would like me to represented a different type of performing arts course and would I be interested. “I was very active and hands on to help form the modules for the course.
“I am thoroughly enjoying it. I love the idea of mentoring.
“We’ve had such a brilliant experience in this industry and it’s invaluable. A lot of the students want to hear about that.
“Sheffield is a great starting point and it’s all about working with cities and colleges that are really hungry for the course.
“This would have been invaluable for me at the age of some of these students.
“I think this course is definitely going to produce industry professionals. If people have talent it will show itself.
“There are people who don’t want to be an artist necessarily, or an actor or a model, but they want to be involved in that industry. So it’s all about educating and showing them that they can.”