Congratulations to everyone receiving their A-Level results today. Whatever grades you achieve, this is a time to feel excited about your future.
Getting into university is sure to be the clear goal for many. However, it's important to remember that it's by no means the only pathway to success.
How about an apprenticeship? They are becoming increasingly popular, and for good reason. Working for a company as an apprentice gives you the opportunity to gain on-the-job experience - something that businesses really value. And at the same time you'll be earning a wage.
These are real opportunities that are helping people take that first step in their career, and they're open to anyone from the age of 16.
Long gone are the days where apprenticeships were exclusively a route into specialist trades - it's still a great way, but now everyone from law firms to software companies are offering increasingly competitive apprenticeship routes that lead to highly rewarding careers.
That's why the Government has committed to creating three million more apprenticeships by 2020.
And it's never been easier to take the first steps. The National Apprenticeship Service has developed a great website, which is a one-stop-shop for information and lists many apprenticeship vacancies.
Or even simpler - take a look at the list of regional finalists for this year's National Apprenticeship Awards. The very best employers will eventually feature in this prestigious Top 100 Apprenticeship Employers List.
Businesses are clamouring for recognition on this shortlist because they want to attract high-calibre candidates.
However it's not just apprenticeships which you can take advantage of - there are sector-based work academies and vocational training too.
Sector-based work academies are a fantastic way for people to receive quality training and a guaranteed interview, and can be a great first role for someone as they start out on their career.
Earlier this year E.ON demonstrated how much they valued people coming through these academies by quadrupling the number of roles available for applicants in 2017.
If you're unsure about what route to take, you can talk to a Jobcentre Plus advisor linked to your school. An experienced advisor will be happy to outline the options available to you. Alternatively, talk to the National Careers Service or the Money Advice Service.
Advisors can help you strengthen your CV, put you in touch with businesses who are recruiting, or help you refine your job-search to find work that suits you. It's their ambition to ensure that you receive the support you need to get into work and fulfil your potential.
First though why not take a look around to see what work appeals to you? Get a sense for what you could imagine doing after school and what job matches your skills and interests. A useful place to start would be Universal Jobmatch - it's one of the largest jobsites in the country, helping thousands of people every week find the right job for them free of charge.
So whatever happens today don't think this is make or break for you. In fact, it's just the beginning.Suggest a correction