The British Hospitality Association (BHA) has called for vocational courses to be given increased prominence by educators, on the day young people receive their A-level results.
Ufi Ibrahim, chief executive of the BHA, described the education system as "hoarding young people into academia", and said that vocational opportunities could be just as fulfilling as academic routes.
She called on educators to bear vocational courses in mind, with emphasis on tourism and hospitality, and highlighted the stigma that still exists around vocational courses, despite their central role in improving employment figures.
The BHA has spoken out following the publication of new figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS), which show that 15% of the 820,000 new jobs created last year were in hospitality and tourism. This was more than the industries of manufacturing or construction, education, health or social work.
The BHA has calculated that the hospitality sector will generate at least 300,000 new jobs by 2020, not just in London, but also across regional areas.
Ibrahim added: "There is still a snobbish snubbing of vocational opportunities, which enable young people to choose on-the-job training over purely academic courses. We are asking the government to help us turn this around by involving more businesses in the classroom."
"Many young people are currently being trained in academia for the wrong types of jobs, so we need to find a better way to showcase the real job opportunities available."
The BHA has suggested a meeting with educational heads to help them work more closely with the industry, to improve the curriculum to allow students to better fit the workplace, and give teachers and educators more information on vocational career paths.
Patrick Dempsey, managing director of Whitbread Hotels and Restaurants, also commented that the hospitality industry offered opportunities to job seekers regardless of age or qualifications.
"There are currently a large number of jobs available across a number of hospitality disciplines, and unlike many other industries, higher education isn't a prerequisite," he said. "The hospitality industry has a powerful role to play in the fight against youth unemployment and it's imperative that the industry embraces this."
The call for new opportunities for young people sites alongside the BHA's Big Hospitality Conversation campaign, which is aiming to create over 60,000 new roles for young people by 2016.