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Colleges have the real X factor

Ask the man or woman in the pub what's the best way to become a music star and the chances are they will mention the television programme The X Factor.

For those who prefer reading, this is the show on which young - and not so young - hopefuls sing their hearts out for a shot at the big time. It makes good TV, as the contestants explain to us - and sometimes the judges - how much they want success.

But the reality is that making a success of any career usually requires a lot more than "wanting it" - which is why it is further education, and not Simon Cowell and his fellow panellists, who will be launching the greatest number of musical careers in the years to come.

Mancunian student Chris Evans - aka Youngsta - will have three people to thank if he makes it big after being picked as the fifth member of the new boy band Asbro.

You probably haven't heard of his mentors as they're not on the telly. They are Jacqueline Hewitt, Mark Acton and Steve Barlow - the Trafford College team who have sent Chris on his way and provided him with the rounded training that will almost guarantee him a music industry career, whether or not Asbro are successful.

As Chris tells us on our back page this week, he aims to complete his music production course because he knows he's likely to need wider skills than just performing if he is to sustain a long-term music career.

The music industry has its eye on Trafford College. As a cauldron of creativity, it has the potential to be the birthplace of more top-level musicians than even Brian Epstein was able to achieve for the city's arch- rival - Liverpool - in the 1960s.

If business people think colleges aren't meeting the needs of employers, they're going to be proved spectacularly wrong.

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