More than 200 Hartlepool students started to think about what they will do when they leave school at a hands-on careers event.
Around 50 local employers and further education providers explained what they had to offer to Dyke House Sports and Technology College pupils.
Many ran workshops offering the 13 and 14-year-olds to try their hands at jobs like bricklaying, first aid and hair and beauty.
Sue Sheldrick, Dyke House’s career development manager, said: “It was a full day event where the students took part in interactive activities and listened to people talking about their jobs, what their route into was and about the qualifications, skills and qualities were required.
“The aim was to broaden their horizons and making the link between what they learn in school and what is in the big wide world.”
Guests included Caterpillar Peterlee, Pro-Active Training which laid on bricklaying, and East Durham College, which took in live animals for the students to handle.
Hartlepool restaurateur Krimo Bouabda also attended, along with Cleveland College of Art and Design, Hartlepool College of Further Education, the armed forces and Teesside Law Courts.
Ms Sheldrick added: “The feedback from the kids has been amazing, they were buzzing about it.
“They said things they had never thought about before was something they realised they would be able to do.
“We would like to thank all the organisations for supporting the event. As a school we really appreciated it.”