KEIGHLEY College is a "gem" that provides a gateway to many opportunities.

That was the message from interim principal Kevin O’Hare as he took the reins at the Bradford Road campus.

He said building on the college's already-strong community links – and making more people aware of the "asset they have on their doorstep" – were among his priorities.

Mr O'Hare, who was previously head of Leeds City College's visual and digital arts department, says he will also strive to use education and training to tackle inequality.

"Coming from a predominantly creative arts background at Quarry Hill campus I was already aware of the breadth and range of Keighley's curriculum offer – and that's the first challenge that excited me about my new role," he said.

"The second great challenge lies within the community and the surrounding areas.

"This region has some of the most deprived and least deprived groups in the UK, and the gap needs to be closed.

"For me, education and training are the primary ways to narrow that gap."

Mr O'Hare said it was an exciting period for the college.

The educational offer covered everything from further education courses for 16-to-18-year-olds and apprenticeships to adult courses and – through its university centre – foundation degrees.

And he said it had "embraced" T levels, a new two-year qualification for those aged 16 to 19 involving a mixture of classroom studies and on-the-job experience.

"We are running T levels in health and social care and have other new subject areas in development," added Mr O'Hare.

He has also voiced his commitment to working closely with the area's businesses, organisations and residents.

"I want the people of Keighley and surrounding areas to realise what a gem they have at the heart of this town – our college is a gateway to all kinds of opportunities," he said.

"Without the advice of local people and the steering of employers, we can't help our students progress into jobs out there.

"Also, many of our learners go on to university degrees and we want to retain talent in West Yorkshire by helping to create opportunities locally. As well as being an education provider we're also a major employer – and I love to see former students return as staff to pass on their knowledge."

Kevin O’Hare has just been appointed Interim Principal at the college where he succeeds former Principal Steve Kelly.