More than 100 young people from St Helens had their aspirations raised at a high-profile careers fair put on by the town hall.
The Believe and Achieve event at St Helens' Totally Wicked Stadium, organised through the council's Invest in St Helens Ambassadors programme, provided a chance for secondary and special needs school pupils to engage with more than 30 businesses and organisations to discover exciting opportunities available after education and guide them towards a successful future.
Other news: Witness plea as tyres slashed on number of vehicles on St Helens road
The young people heard from influential figures in the borough including St Helens RFC chairman Eamonn McManus, the council's chief executive Mike Palin and Linzi Prescott from the Steve Prescott Foundation.
Care leaver turned consultant social worker Rachel Springford also addressed the room by reading out a powerful speech from a previous International Women's Week.
All the speeches were about achieving no matter how unpromising the background if enough hard work is applied.
Among the stall holders in attendance were St Helens Chamber, Merseyside Police, Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service and businesses from the world of engineering and construction.
Rainford-based O2 franchise Communications Plus which scooped Employer of the Year and the Pride of St Helens Business Award at the inaugural Pride of St Helens Business Awards in November 2018, was also there.
CV writing tips and interview techniques were also shared with pupils, courtesy of Sue Haunch, a senior recruitment consultant from Lucam Consultancy.
Stressing the need to change the perception of the borough, which has the second-highest jobs growth of anywhere in the north of England, Mr Palin said: “There are lots and lots and lots of opportunities available in St Helens. When I speak at events like this, I say that it’s the most important place in the country at this moment in time.
“Our economic growth is greater than that of anywhere in the north, certainly. Now is the opportune time to be a young person in the borough.”
After informing the youngsters in attendance of the ‘ordinary school children from an extraordinary town’ who have gone onto do great things throughout history, Mr McManus said: “My one piece of advice is that if you think you’re good enough to do something – you are good enough to do something.
"There’s no rush to make any decisions in life, but think what lies ahead.
“There are limitless opportunities - great opportunities in this town - and the education you will receive here will stand you in good stead.”
After the event Rainhill High School deputy headteacher Louise Aylward said: “Our students really enjoyed themselves and got so much from the day. They returned inspired with a replenished level of motivation.”
Launched in February 2018, the St Helens Ambassadors programme - which has over 100 local businesses and organisations, including schools, on board - works closely with local primary and secondary school head teachers to attract investment, business and visitors to the borough and create a more successful economy.
For more information on the ambassadors initiative, visit www.investinsthelens.com