Those opening their GCSE results today will, for the most part, be planning to do A-Levels next year - particularly if they have ambitions in the City.
But what if you could work for one of the UK's largest finance sector organisations without suffering through another two years of academia?
We've rounded up the City's best post-GCSE apprenticeships.
1. Lloyds Banking Group - Group IT Advanced Apprenticeship
Salary: £367 a week
Duration: 12 - 36 months
Requirements: 5 GCSEs A-C, including Maths and a science/IT/engineering subject
Lloyds says: In addition to the skills we look for in all our apprentices any additional technical expertise would be an advantage, but isn't a requirement. It's more important that you've got the passion for IT.As well as a wealth of experience, depending on the technical area you're aligned to, you'll gain a Level 3 Qualification in IT.
Gaining this mix of qualifications and skills will ultimately give you more choice and open up more options for you to pursue in the future. That could mean taking on more responsibility in your current role, undertaking further development, or looking for new opportunities across the group.
2. PwC - IT Desk Side Support Engineer Apprentice
Salary: £230.62 a week
Duration: 12 - 14 months
Requirements: Five GCSE grades C and above
Pwc says: You will provide desk side support services to users in customer office. Resolve issues reported and escalating when required. Provide assistance to customers outside events when directed, and also call response and resolution within agreed SLA.
This is a fantastic apprenticeship that will require successful candidates to be fully committed to their learning and developing their skill set.
3. HSBC - Customer Service Apprenticeship
Salary: £289.00 a week
Duration: 12 - 18 months
Requirements: Minimum of 5 GCSEs, including English and Maths at grade C or above
HSBC says: Whether you want a career that could take you to the top, or simply take you in an exciting new direction, HSBC offers opportunities, support and rewards that will take you further.
We ask for your commitment to develop and learn, and to be willing to devote some of your own time to see the programme through to the end
4. Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy - Policy Support Officer Apprentice
It's the City - but not as you know it. Play a vital role in determining how the City shapes up in the future with this apprenticeship at a brand new government department.
Salary: £468.25 a week
Duration: 18 months
Requirements: Minimum of 5 GCSE grades A* - C including English and Maths
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy says: The team is responsible for developing a distinctive UK position on all policy issues relating to international trade. These are well-rounded roles with the opportunity to demonstrate organisational skills, draft briefings and work with ministers, and external stakeholders across government and internationally.
The successful candidates must have the potential to grasp complex issues quickly, possess sound common sense in dealing with challenges, be confident and personable in engaging senior officials and external stakeholders, and able to work at pace. You will need strong communication skills to prepare briefings and submissions.
Bosses without A-Levels
Take inspiration from these four high-flyers...
1. Richard Branson
Branson has made much of the dyslexia he suffers from - but that didn't stop him from dropping out of school at the age of 16 to start his first magazine.
2. Alan Sugar
This Apprentice hard man only left school with one GCSE, but has since risen to huge wealth and power. From a sales assistant in to the head of a global trading business, Lord Sugar is said to be worth £770m.
3. Simon Cowell
The X-Factor mogul left school, aged 17, to work in menial jobs - including the mailroom of music publisher EMI.
4. Jacqueline Gold
Gold started out at her dad's lingerie shop, where she got the idea to make it woman-friendly and called the resulting store Ann Summers. She's now one of the wealthiest woman in the Sunday Times rich list.