British Gas has received more than 100 applications for every gas fitter apprenticeship available, more than twice the usual ratio, it has emerged.
The utilities giant said it had more than 65,000 applications for 600 schemes, the Times has reported.
The scheme guarentees a £24,000-a-year job once apprentices have been trained, and the majority of applications have come from people aged between 20-26 – although some were in their fifties, the firm said.
Nearly one in five young people is unemployed, according to Office for National Statistics figures, a possible cause for the surge in applications.
The scheme, which teaches individuals at one of five academies nationwide, pays £5,000 a year plus expenses during training.
Of the 600 new apprentices, 500 will be service and repair engineers, 50 will specialise in central heating systems and 50 will carry out electrical engineering.