Telecommunications giant BT has pledged to create more than 1,000 new apprenticeships and graduate jobs as part of a major recruitment drive aimed at young people in the UK.

The firm explained that the majority of the new roles will be in the areas of IT, technology research and engineering, with other training programmes available in business and finance.

"This is a tough time in the job market, with almost a million young people across the UK struggling to find work," said Gavin Patterson, chief executive of BT.

He added: "Every company needs to play its part in ensuring that Britain's future workforce isn't impaired by long-term unemployment."

BT said it will hire 300 science, technology and business graduates and some 730 apprenticeships will also be offered to school and college leavers in the areas of engineering, software design, IT support, finance and logistics.

A large number of the multinationals graduate and apprentice intake will be based at BT's research campus at Adastral Park, near Ipswich in Suffolk.

The FTSE 100 firm also pledged its commitment to the UK employer-led initiative "Movement to Work", which is aimed at tackling youth unemployment.

BT said it will provide up to 1,500 vocational training and work experience placements for out of work youngsters over the next 18 months.

"It's good news that BT are delivering even more high quality apprenticeships and graduate jobs," said Vince Cable, the Business Secretary.

"Hundreds more people will now be able to get the skills they need to get on and help support sustainable economic growth."

The news comes after the Office for National Statistics revealed that the UK had more than 900,000 16 to 24-year-olds out of work.

But the research body also said the country's youth unemployment rate dropped to 19.9% in the three months to December 2013.