The prime minister has pledged to create 200,000 apprenticeships by 2011 in the draft Queen's Speech.
In a preview of the government's legislative programme to MPs, Gordon Brown said he would give every qualified young person the statutory right to an apprenticeship.
In 1997 about 65,000 young people were learning a trade through an apprenticeship, Mr Brown explained.
He also added that the government would expand the provision of adult learning.
"Every adult has the right to a second chance in education," he said.