A greater effort must be made to ensure youngsters learn a foreign language, Catherine Bearder MEP has said.
It comes after a new European Commission report ranks the UK at the bottom of a league table when it comes to learning new languages.
Catherine said: "We cannot rely on other countries to learn English, while we continue to fall behind. Learning a language is a real life skill.
"One solution to getting more young people into work is staring us in the face. Learn a new language and the job market opens up around the EU."
The commission's report shows only 20 per cent of UK school pupils manage an A2 rating (GCSE grade C) or above in writing a foreign language.
It means Britain lags behind France where 40 per cent hit the target, while in the Netherlands 90 per cent achieve a similar qualification.
Catherine has called for more action to be taken to promote the benefits of learning a new language when it comes to finding a job.
She said: "Now I am in Brussels I realise how important it is to be able to speak another language.
"We are a major trading nation in finance, services and goods, and simply cannot allow so many children to leave school without a solid understanding of a foreign language.
"A whole new world of opportunities opens up with the ability to speak another language and it must be promoted to school children."
The report can be found via: http://ec.europa.eu/languages/eslc/docs/en/final-report-escl_en.pdf