New proposals to ensure apprentices make up more than 2.3% of the workforce in public bodies in England, have been announced by the Government.
A consultation is being launched on plans to make public sector employers take on more apprentices, the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills said.
Skills Minister Nick Boles called on the public sector to "step up" and offer the same opportunities to young people as some businesses.
Mr Boles said: "Our apprenticeships revolution has already given 2.4 million people the chance to learn the skills they need to get on in life, with businesses leading the way.
"Now it's time for the public sector to step up and give those same opportunities as we turbo charge our drive to give youngsters the best start to working life."
The new duty, to be part of the Enterprise Bill, will apply to public sector bodies with 250 or more employees in England and is set to be brought in later in the year, BIS said.
The target will mean a minimum of 2.3% of workers starting each year in larger public sector bodies in England will need to be apprentices, it added.
The Government plans to deliver three million apprenticeships by 2020.