How young people make career/occupational choices and why they enter particular careers/occupations are questions to which the answers are complex. One hundred and ninety seven-students drawn from two non-selective comprehensive schools and two further education (FE) colleges in the North of England took part in a questionnaire survey relating to their perceptions of education and training. Forty-seven of these students were subsequently interviewed. The data, collected during 2005 and 2006, suggests a level of student uncertainty that may arise from being attuned to the ambivalent status surrounding vocational education and associated careers. There were indications that perceptions of earning capacity were a key factor in shaping ideas about careers, and that students aspired to courses that they believed offered the highest potential for future earnings. The uncertainty evident in young people's responses to questions about vocational courses may suggest that schools had failed to adequately inform them about vocationally related-qualifications, though there are, it is contended, socially embedded values and attitudes that simultaneously both shape and cloud their thinking.