Gordon Brown has announced plans that could see every teenager in the country complete up to 50 hours of volunteer work by the age of 19.
Writing in the News of the World, Mr Brown said the plan would be part of Labour's election manifesto.
In his comment piece, the prime minister said he was inspired by the three million people who commit themselves to volunteer work every year and wanted to encourage all young people to play a part in their communities by doing 50 hours of volunteer work by the age of 19.
He added that the programme would build on the compulsory citizenship studies introduced in the curriculum for 14-16 year olds.
"As we set out our manifesto for the next parliament, we will consider the best way of achieving our 50-hour goal. By building from compulsory citizenship studies in the 14-16 curriculum, we can create an expectation of national youth community service," he writes.
The scheme will be launched on a voluntary basis in September and will become compulsory if Labour are re-elected in the next elections.