A new ‘What’s the Big Idea?’ initiative has been launched by Preston’s College to give the region’s innovative young thinkers the chance to showcase their inventions in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics).

Ahead of the official opening of its new state-of-the-art £13m iSTEM centre in September, 14-18 year old students at Preston’s College and surrounding schools are being invited to submit their ‘Big Ideas’ on innovative products, concepts or services created by STEM thinking that would be of value in the workplace.

A shortlist of entries will be chosen and invited to an exclusive ‘Dragons Den’ style judging event, held at the brand new iSTEM centre on campus at Preston’s College in September 2015.

A VIP panel of judges will then announce the overall winner who will take home a £750 in cash at the official opening event on Thursday 1 October. Second and third prizes of £500 and £250 will also be given out.

Sharing the founding principles of the new iSTEM centre, the competition aims to highlight the ‘work ready’ focus of STEM subjects, emphasising the wide range of exciting careers on offer to those considering a STEM education.

Lis Smith, principal and chief executive at Preston’s College said: “This is an amazing opportunity for our region’s talented young thinkers to make their dreams a reality. We’re looking forward to seeing all their exciting projects and encouraging the spirit of innovation. 

“The iSTEM centre is a major focus for equipping our learners with skills and experiences that are essential in the workplace.  The ability to develop original concepts and have the confidence to present them to the judging panel will showcase the entrants’ abilities to local employers and give them the chance to test their ideas on a grand scale.”

To enter the competition, students can submit their ideas in any format including video, power point or word documents to www.preston.ac.uk/bigidea. The closing date for entries is 31 July 2015. The competition is open to ideas and inventions using STEM thinking and does not exclude subjects outside of science technology, engineering or mathematics.

Shortlisted entries will be announced on the Preston’s College website and social media channels on 17 August 2015, before presenting their ideas to the judging panel at the Dragons Den event in September 2015.

The winner will be chosen at the iSTEM opening event on Thursday 1 October at the Preston’s College Fulwood Campus.

For more information about the competition and to enter, visit www.preston.ac.uk/bigidea