Graduate schemes and apprenticeships at a number of high-profile employers are continuing to be inundated as youth unemployment remains close to the one million mark.

British Gas revealed this week that it received more than 65,000 applications for 600 schemes, more than twice the usual number of candidates. The scheme guarantees a £24,000-a-year job once they have been trained, and most applications have come from people aged between 20 and 26.

Mobile phone operator Vodafone told Personnel Today it received more than 3,000 applications for the 50 places on its graduate scheme, launched last year, while retailer Debenhams has received 2,000 applications for the 25 graduate trainee places available this year without advertising beyond its own website and graduate career websites.

The news comes as the latest unemployment figures, released on Wednesday, revealed that youth unemployment now stands at 929,000 – and would have hit exactly 1m without the 71,000 quarterly jump in student numbers.

The latest Association of Graduate Recruiters survey into the graduate recruitment market revealed that there are, on average, 48 applications for every position.