Only one in four youngsters nearing the end of their time in school have been given the chance of a work placement, new research has shown.
Most of those offered work experience complained it was "irrelevant and poor quality", the study by City & Guilds revealed.
A survey of more than 3,000 young people by the vocational education organisation showed that only 26% of those aged between 16 and 18 had been offered the chance of work experience.
Chris Jones, chief executive of City & Guilds, said the research identified gaps between education and employment, adding: "We have to plan how we are going to close those gaps and stop our young people from slipping through the system.
"We are calling for an All-Party Parliamentary Group to bring together key stakeholders across education, business and the Government to tackle this problem - working together, to get young people working.
"We believe more needs to be done to ensure young people get the advice and experience they deserve and we believe we are ideally placed to help realise this goal."