Local authority leaders have renewed calls for an integrated employment and skills service following a report highlighting a 'youth jobs gap'.
Research by the charity Impetus showed one in four young people who were eligible for free school meals were not in education, employment or training after leaving school, compared with only 13% of better-off pupils.
Impetus said disadvantaged young people with similar qualifications to their better-off peers were still much more likely to be out of education and employment in early adulthood.
Local Government Association skills spokesman Mark Hawthorne said: 'Given the employment gap between poorer children and their more well-off peers, it is vital that young people are given access to a coherent post-16 offer, which covers both technical and academic pathways.
'As councils and employers know the specific needs of their communities, critical to the goal of addressing any skills gap is ensuring skills policy is place-based.
'The Government needs to consider LGA proposals for an integrated employment and skills service led by local authorities.
'Devolving careers advice, post-16 and adult skills budgets and powers to local areas, would allow councils, schools, colleges and employers to work together to improve provision for young people so that they can get on in life.'