Plans to help youngsters prepare better for the world of work and compete with more experienced adults for jobs have been unveiled by the Government.
A traineeships programme is set to be launched later this year offering work experience, studies in English and maths, and advice on how to prepare for a job interview for 16 to 24-year-olds in England.
The move follows complaints from business leaders about the standard of numeracy, literacy and other skills among school-leavers.
The new programme could be in place by September, funded by the Department for Education and the Business Department from existing budgets.
A discussion paper was published by the Government ahead of the programme being launched, with ministers saying they wanted to equip youngsters with the skills to compete for jobs and apprenticeships.
Skills minister Matthew Hancock said: "We want to support everyone in our country to reach their personal best.
"To do that, we are introducing traineeships to help young people with the skills they need to get a job, and hold down a job. That's vital for our economy to compete in the global race, and it's a question of fairness.
"Traineeships will give young people the helping hand and experience they need to compete for apprenticeships and good jobs."
Professor Alison Wolf, who conducted a review of vocational education for the Government, said: "Long-term changes in the labour market have been very hard on young people.
"It is increasingly difficult for them to gain the work experience and workplace skills that help them move into permanent employment."