Parents and teachers do not feel they are well placed to give children career guidance.
Research carried out by the Association of Colleges (AoC) to mark Colleges Week 2012 has found that both groups feel employers should be doing more to offer youngsters opportunities.
Some 82 per cent of teachers think they are lacking the necessary knowledge to properly advise schoolkids, while the same percentage think there should better guidance in this area.
On top of this, one-fifth of mums and dads admitted they believe they are out of their depth when it comes to talking to their offspring about career prospects.
Joy Mercer, director of policy at the AoC, said: "Careers advice is a professional discipline that requires training and development and we know that many school budgets cannot stretch far enough to fund this resource."
She added it is vital that young children get access to the right guidance so they can make important decisions about their future.
Moving forward, parents would like to see more placement opportunities, so teenagers get the chance to build up their experience levels.