By Orna Herr, Communications Officer (Education) at the British Science Association 


Today (7 November) marks the start of the very first Green Careers Week! As the climate crisis intensifies, making sure the next generation of scientists and engineers are working to protect the environment could not be more important.

Supported by partners including the Met Office, Green Careers Week is a fantastic opportunity to discuss with your students the sort of jobs they could go on to have in the climate fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

Getting students engaged with and excited by the subject is crucial, and one of the most effective ways of doing this is by letting them take the lead of investigative projects. That’s where we can help!

Our flagship CREST Awards scheme inspires young people to think and behave like scientists and engineers. Many of our secondary CREST Awards are projects that explore different environment-related topics. Running these projects in the classroom, or encouraging students to conduct them independently at home, can show them the vital real-world applications of eco-STEM. 


Discovery Awards are five-hour challenges aimed at 10-14-year-olds to complete in small, self-managed groups.

Our Sustainable Solutions project asks students to think about the connection between industry and the environment (this could also work well as a Connections-themed activity for British Science Week 2023).

While industrialisation is important for economic growth and development, it can also be harmful to the environment. This project challenges students to come up with a climate-friendly start-up business for their local area, after researching what it means to be a sustainable business.


Bronze Awards are recommended for students aged 11+ and should require around 10 hours’ work.

Our Monitoring acid rain project asks students to investigate air pollution levels in their local area by conducting their own practical experiment, spanning several months of collecting samples of rain and monitoring the acidity levels. Acid rain can have damaging effects on aquatic ecosystems as many creatures cannot survive in water with high acid levels. This impacts the planet’s biodiversity.   

Our Waste free lunch project gives young people the opportunity to learn how their lunch habits, and those of their peers, can be detrimental to the environment and how they can make proactive changes! They will be asked to introduce a school lunch programme that encourages the use of reusable packaging, certainly something that will need to be promoted in the future.


Silver Awards are recommended for students aged 14+ and should require around 30 hours’ work.

Our Monitoring water pollution project tasks students with investigating levels of water pollution caused by industry or agriculture. Pure, unpolluted water is in fact a rare commodity - one that it will need protecting for future generations. This project could engage students with an environmental issue they may not have thought of before and encourage them to problem-solve.  

For Silver level students there is also a Climate science resource pack, a collection of activities looking at different environmental topics from droughts to eco-friendly city planning.


Gold Awards are recommended for students aged 14+ and should require around 70 hours’ work.

The theme of pollution continues for Gold level students with Monitoring lead pollution. The project asks whether lead from petrol lingers at the roadside and how this can negatively impact the environment. The pollution caused by cars is something climate scientists will need to tackle for cleaner air and a cleaner planet.  

Young people can also explore the Hydrology resource packs, which have been adapted for Silver and Gold-aged students. The packs include a range of different projects focused on the theme of water and the climate. The climate crisis is having an impact on how water cycles around the planet, and disruptions to flow can cause droughts and flooding. The projects ask students to investigate things such as how water is used in food production and how to use water efficiently.

Studies have shown that, for girls in particular, science is at it’s most engaging when it’s taught in relation to real-world examples and problems, offering them the chance to think about solutions.

CREST Awards are based on this principle, and there is possibly no more crucial real-world problem that young people must be encouraged to think about in terms of future careers than the climate crisis.   

For more information, activities and inspiration, follow CREST Awards on Twitter and Facebook.

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