TODAY is the day of reckoning for thousands of teenagers in Bradford, who will finally reap the fruits of their labours - or not - with GCSE results.
These exam results can determine the next stage of life for many youngsters, who will be faced with the decision of whether to stay on at school for re-takes, A-levels or other courses, or whether to enter employment.
Those who decide on employment, apprenticeships or other training schemes may be encouraged to know that job prospects for young people are improving, according to a new report.
And the report - by the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) - also reveals that increasing importance is being placed on youngsters' attitude as opposed to exam results and grades.
The REC said jobs growth looks set to continue for the rest of the year.
Its survey of 600 employers showed that two-thirds have taken on a young person in the past year. One in five said they were interested in the level of qualifications achieved by young jobseekers, but only 4per cent said specific grades were the most important factor when recruiting.
REC chief executive Kevin Green said: "It's the best time in six years to be a young person coming into the jobs market. Employer hiring intentions are high and more employers are reaching capacity with their existing workforce and will have to take on new staff.
"Qualifications can be a good indicator of ability but our survey shows employers place a high value on attitude. Our advice is young people need to think about how they project a positive, can-do attitude when applying for jobs."
Staff from Connexions Bradford, an information and support service for young people, will be on hand at schools and colleges today, to offer advice on what direction to take next. Personal Advisers are trained to support young people through a range of issues, including education/training choices, employment, money, health and relationships.
Connexions advisers will also be at the What Next? fair, being held in Bradford's Centenary Square today, from 11am to 3.30pm, which offers advice on a range of jobs and training schemes. More than 20 apprenticeship providers will be there, along with representatives from colleges.
"It's a good chance for young people to look at employment and training opportunities," says Shuhel Miah, lead adviser at Connexions Bradford. "GCSE results day can be very daunting, and some young people will have big decisions to make. Not just those who haven't got the grades they wanted, but anyone considering employment or training rather than A-levels."
When it comes to seeking work, Shuhel says the right attitude is vital.
"It all comes down to how they present themselves. There are employers wanting high end exam grades, but many of them also place emphasis on commitment and attitude," he says.
"It's simple things like good timekeeping and appearance. A well presented CV is very important, as it's what an employer looks at first, but we see so many cases of young people just not selling themselves enough in their CVs. We have CV sessions at Connexions where we sit down and talk them through it. We also do a lot with interview preparation; a lot of young people have no experience of interviews and don't know to approach them. We help develop their interview skills."
He adds: "Results day is a daunting time for parents too, and we try to make them aware of other options available."
Ellie Fox, 17, of Wibsey decided against staying on at school following her GCSE results last year, and says she hasn't looked back since. "My grades were okay but I needed to do a couple of re-takes to do A-levels," she said. "I spoke to someone from Connexions who came to my school and I realised there were other options I hadn't considered. I realised I didn't want to go down the path of A-levels and university. I've got friends with big student debts and I didn't want that.
"I started a beauty therapy training scheme and I've learned loads. It has opened lots of doors for me, and I'm enjoying earning my own money. If I want to go into further education later in life I may do that, but for now I've got my independence and I'm learning things every day."
* For more about Connexions call (01274) 377800 or visit virtualconnexionsbradford.co.uk