BRADFORD College will show an increased focus on science and engineering subjects in 2018, as it hopes to get more young people exited about the industries of the future.

Earlier this year the college became one of the largest education institutions in the UK to gain a STEM assured status, which recognises the college’s work in spreading the importance of science, technology, engineering and maths subjects.

And there are plans to go even further in 2018, with “STEM champions” visiting local schools, the college getting more involved in events like the Bradford Science Festival, the creation of “pop up” labs in empty city centre units and work to get more women involved in STEM subjects.

They will also turn STEM into STEAM by adding arts elements to the activities.

The main aim is to make STEM subjects more accessible and fun, and this was recently on display when the college held an event to highlight its STEM credentials - inviting students to take part in a “human Pac-Man” game that involved students navigating a maze on a space-hopper.

The STEM status indicates to both students and employers that the College delivers high quality education in these subjects, and it has to maintain its status each year.

Helen Barraclough, the college’s new STEM development officer, said: “It is great we have got this STEM assured status. It is not something you just get by by applying or paying for it.

“There are huge skills shortages in certain industries, so it is important we make young people passionate for STEM careers.

“I’m the new STEM development officer, and it’s my role to look at ways we can work with partners and communities to attract people who don’t think STEM is for them.

“We’re taking STEM a step further by adding arts.

“We are going to be recruiting some STEAM champions who will do things like support the Bradford Science Festival, visit local schools, and get involved in the Lates events at the National Science and Media Museum.

“The students to pick to be our champions might not even necessarily be on STEAM subjects.

“We’re also going to be partnering with WISE (Leeds based campaign to get a gender balance in STEM subjects) to encourage more girls and women who think these subjects might not be for them into these fields.

“People tend to pick their careers based on the three Ps, peers, press and parents. We want to change how these three sides look at sciences. A lot of parents think that if you do science you are only going to be a doctor, but businesses are crying out for more people with skills like coding.

“We have some really interesting plans. We’d love to turn shops in the city centre into pop up laboratories. We’re looking at ideas for some agricultural work too. We’d like to have some kind of urban farm in the middle of Bradford where people can grow their own vegetables. I’d love to see a big, green growing area up the middle of Darley Street.

“We’re going to be looking at how we can incorporate STEM in all aspects of college life.

“We can’t afford not to embrace science subjects these days. We should do it in a fun and playful way.”