THE team behind Bradfactor - the district's annual showcase of local talent - is urging young people to apply for this year's contest.

The talent show began in 2008 as a one-off contest. It was organised by youth worker Zanib Thackray who was keen to highlight the talents of young people she was working with.

In 2011, due to popular demand, it was brought back as a Zap Promotions project, with the aim of turning it into a major talent competition for young people.

"We added value to the final by engaging former X Factor finalists Twist and Pulse as the hosts, it added a professional element to the show," says Paula Helliwell, who co-organises Bradford with Zanib.

"In 2012 we expanded our auditions to provide an opportunity for even more young people to take part, and added a guest act, The Risk, to the final. We changed our semi final into a show where young people could invite family and friends."

Paula says having a guest act is an inspiration to the young people taking part in Bradfactor, as they show what can be done with hard work, talent, determination and the right breaks.

"Last year our guest act was local band MK1. Having a guest act provides role models for the young people, as these acts have come through talent shows themselves and succeeded," she says. "We have tightened up on the format of the show and the quality of acts we put through.

"We keep in touch with many of the young people who have taken part over the years, and try to give them an opportunity to perform. Some perform locally on a regular basis, some are in shows and one finalist from 2012 has won a scholarship with a top producer and has recently done backing vocals for Donny Osmond and Geri Helliwell."

Adds Paula: "The success of Bradfactor is down to the young people involved, and we like to help build their confidence and self belief. Having the chance to perform at St Georges Hall, with professional hosts and top class staging, lighting sound and special effects can be a big step and great experience for them."

Bradfactor 2014 is now open for entries to anyone aged 10 to 25-years-old. "It is open to individuals or group acts - singers, dancers, rappers or bands," says Paula. "This year's grand final will be at St George's Hall on October 25, hosted by Twist and Pulse.

Last year's Bradfactor attracted 250 entrants, including dance groups, singers and rappers. It was won by Punjabi Roots Academy, which holds training workshops in eastern and western creative arts. The Bradford-based academy teaches dance styles such as Bhangra and Bollywood, Dhol drumming, drama and DJ skills, and performs around the region.

Punjabi Roots has appeared on TV shows such as Blue Peter, The One Show and last year's live BBC3 broadcast of Bollywood Carmen from Bradford's City Park, which starred Meera Syal, former EastEnders actress Preeya Kalidas, Bollywood star Abhay Deol and Bradford actress Rachel Leskovac.

* Anyone wanting to find out more about Bradfactor, or how to enter this year's contest, email for an application form.