Based on the fourth sweep of the 1970 British Birth Cohort, this text examines the ways in which 16 year-olds are prepared for work. The author draws on some of the most comprehensive data available on young people in Britain in order to look at their school experiences and the ways in which they are prepared for positions in the labour market. This is achieved through a detailed analysis of the ways in which social deprivation and class cultures affect educational outcomes and occupational intentions and destinations. Andy Furlong argues that the British problem of low educational attainment is a consequence of the ways schools are organized. While young people showed a strong desire to train or professional and technical careers, as a result of their experiences within the school many said that they lacked confidence in their ability to follow the institutional routes which lead to such positions.