Two-thirds of the public fear the coalition's economic policies will create a "jobless generation" of young people, according to a poll.
The research, by ComRes for the Sunday Mirror and Independent on Sunday, comes amid predictions that the number of unemployed 16 to 24-year-olds could top a million.
Just 13% of those quizzed said the Government was doing a good job helping young people into work, compared with 65% who thought the opposite.
Nearly seven in 10 called for more focus on finding employment, rather than encouraging applications to university. An even higher proportion - 88% - insisted schools should offer more vocational training.
Overall, 66% worried that the Government was risking leaving a generation jobless, while 19% disagreed. Four-fifths said it had not become easier to find work over the past 20 years, despite massive economic growth.
But writing in the Sunday Mirror, Business Secretary Vince Cable insisted he was boosting apprenticeships and work experience places.
"Youth unemployment is one of the great challenges," he wrote.
"We can't afford to let our young people be left behind and see their talents go to waste. A strong economy needs a highly-skilled workforce. Practical training for young people has been under-valued and under-funded for too long.
"For too long academic qualifications have been valued above vocational skills. That is wrong.
"My father was a factory worker at Rowntree's who later taught building trades at York Technical College. We must revive the respect we then had for skilled craftsmen."
:: ComRes interviewed 2,011 adults online between June 8 and 9. Data were weighted to be representative of all adults by gender, age group, social class and region.Reuse content