Paul, who hails from Shirebrook, near Mansfield, studied business at West Nottinghamshire College from 1978-80.
A few months after completing the course, he moved to London to pursue a career in music – taking his first band B-Movie to national and international success. The band released three singles and four albums, which was followed by a tour of the US and Europe.
In 1999 he co-wrote hit single Here With Me and multi-million selling album I'm No Angel with then unsigned singer Dido. The single became a world-wide hit while the album went on to sell 16 million copies, becoming the second best-selling album of the 2000s in the UK.
Paul looks back fondly at his time at the college, where he studied on the BEC National Business Studies programme at its Derby Road campus.
He said: “College days were great. It was a day off work from my job at Mansfield District Council, where I worked in the Rates Office. My course tutor was Charlie Otter – what a great guy!
“I really enjoyed my time at West Notts, even though studying while working full-time was hard work. Learning business skills certainly came in useful once I became a self-employed musician; helping me to run my business effectively. Gaining financial skills and learning how to write business plans have been useful too.”
As well as being an acclaimed musician, song-writer and producer, Paul has also been made an associate lecturer in music production at Southampton Solent University, where he works one day per week.
And he still enjoys regular contact with the college; returning at least once-a-year to deliver song-writing and composition sessions with music students in its state-of-the-art Create building – a £5 million centre for music, media and performance.
He added: “It’s been great to come back and teach music skills on my ‘home’ patch. The tutors are excellent and are great with the students. The college is much-changed in its outlook and the new Create building is a fantastic place in which to learn, as well as teach.
“The standard of the students’ work is very high and being in a more adult-oriented environment helps them mature more quickly and develop the interpersonal skills they need in a modern workplace.
“I’m looking forward to doing lots more work with the students and I would encourage anyone interested in music to consider a visit to the college to see these wonderful new facilities for themselves.”
Project-wise, Paul recently worked with Peter Andre – featuring on his television series My Life – and collaborated with X Factor 2010 winner Matt Cardle, with whom he co-wrote single It’s Only Love, which was released in October 2012.