Think your future plans don't include STEM? Think again! By Orna Herr, Communications Officer (Education) at the British Science Association ------------ Maybe you can’t wait to finish school, or maybe you’re cherishing every day you have left in the classroom with your friends. Either way, for the sixth form class of 2022, the big wide world beckons! University applications for September 2022 open this May, with the deadline to complete your UCAS application for most undergraduate courses set as 15 January 2022. Alternatively, like many sixth form students, you may wish to start an apprenticeship or go straight into full-time work when you leave school. Whether you choose Higher Education or employment as your next step, now is the time to get excited about the field you want to get into and consider what you can do to make yourself an excellent candidate when the time comes. Earning a Gold CREST Award can help! Gold CREST Awards are the most advanced level of our nationally recognised, flagship education programme and they look fantastic on any CV or application form. But what if the profession you’re interested in is not closely related to science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM)? You might be wondering, ‘Are the CREST Awards useful to me?’. The answer is yes! Science is all around us and plays a role in almost every aspect of our lives. From cooking to designing clothes to playing sports, studying the science behind your passion is a great way to demonstrate your understanding of it and enhance your skills. You’ll be applying for a spot on a university course, an apprenticeship or a job in your chosen field before you know it, and the key thing to remember when filling in forms and attending interviews is this: it’s all about standing out. Imagine you’re applying to study music at university and you can say that you earned a Gold CREST Award by investigating the physics of speaker systems. Or maybe you’re thinking about a hairdressing apprenticeship, having studied the effects that treatments such as blow-drying have on different types of hair to achieve your CREST Award. This will almost certainly set you apart! Read on to find out which Gold CREST Award projects could help you on the path to your chosen career, even if it’s not directly connected to STEM. You might find out that science plays a bigger role in it than you first realised! Fashion Is your Instagram feed full of fashion and jewellery designers? Do you dream of being the next Vera Wang or Marc Jacobs? Having a flare for colours and dramatic lines is essential of course, but you can’t design eye-catching, durable clothes and jewellery without knowing the scientific properties of different fabrics and metals. Try 'Investigating metal jewellery' or 'Compare fabric properties' to prove you’ve got the knowledge to back up your creativity. See you on the catwalk! Food A lot of people, when listing their passions and hobbies, would place cooking high up on the list. Some of us fancy ourselves amateur chefs, but not everyone could hack the high-pressure environment of a professional kitchen. If you think you’ve got what it takes, understanding the science of preparing food will be a big help and the Gold CREST Awards resource library is a bounty of brilliant activities for you to get stuck into. Want to be the best with spuds? Try 'How much starch is in a potato?'. If you’re curious about the sugar content of supposed healthy drinks, 'Fruit juice or fizzy drinks' will be right up your street. For aspiring bakers, 'The effects of additives on bread' is something you’ll want to know about! And it’s not just about food – great cooking is just as much about the equipment. Completing 'The properties of saucepans' will ensure you always grab the right pan in the kitchen. Beauty The hair and make-up industry is huge. From brides and grooms wanting to look their best on the big day, to everyday people needing a bit of pampering, there are many ways that hairdressers and make-up artists use their skills. Knowing how to treat different hair types and which lipsticks give the right colour will certainly help you to flourish in that role – and that’s where science comes in! Try 'The effects of treatment on hair' and 'The perfect colour lipstick'. Music Creating music is often an intuitive thing and how lyrics and melodies form can be something of a mystery. But, what we do know is that for music to sound good when played to the masses, it needs to be piped through great speakers! In the process of completing 'Make a speaker system', you’ll learn how speakers work and even build your own, developing knowledge that is sure to make you stand out. Sport Sport is a passion for millions, whether that’s participating or watching, which is a great reason why you should think about a sports-related Gold CREST Award this summer. If sailing is your favourite sport, why not improve your understanding of boat mechanics by completing 'Aerodynamic sails'? Perhaps you love tennis. Why not think about how the court will look in the future as AI becomes more and more prevalent and 'Design a robotic ball-boy'? Whether you’re applying to university or for an apprenticeship or a job, or planning to see the world before taking the first steps in your career, CREST Awards are great to have on your CV even if your subject or industry is not ostensibly linked with STEM! Visit the CREST Awards resource library now to see the full range of projects covering all disciplines, including Silver and Bronze projects which can be adapted to Gold level. If you have any questions, please contact us on [email protected] and follow us on Twitter and Facebook.