Students Sam Harris and Thomas Sheils-Hardy are taking the big step into work.
The 17-year-olds have been offered apprenticeships which will take each of them off to other parts of the country as part of their four-year, earn-while-they-learn programmes.
Sam, 17, from Sunderland, is moving to Birmingham in August, where he will train in electrical and mechanical engineering for leading brick manufacturer Ibstock, before moving back to work in the region to finish his apprenticeship.
And Thomas, from Cleadon, is getting ready to head off to Fleetwood Nautical Campus in Blackpool, where he will begin his apprenticeship in marine engineering for Chiltern Maritime.
The pair are students at the Discovery School, which takes students aged between 14 and 19 from across the North East and specialises in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) subjects.
“I could have gone to university to study engineering, but I wanted to get experience on the job and earn a wage, so this is perfect for me. I’m really enthusiastic about the challenges ahead,” said Sam.
“When I was offered the position, I was told that I got the job because I had good knowledge of engineering, which I learned at Discovery School.
“Without a doubt, the experience I have gained during just one year at the school has played a huge part in getting me on to the career ladder.”
Thomas is following in the footsteps of several of his relations by taking up a career in marine engineering and is looking forward to a life at sea.
“Since I was little I have always wanted to travel – marine engineering is a great career and it pays well, so I’m really happy,” he said.
“I had applied to Chiltern Marine a few times, so I think my eagerness paid off, along with the experience in engineering I have picked up at Discovery School. I wouldn’t have got that at any other school.”