Tom Wyness, the managing director of Competitive Edge in Plymouth, said Government data show there were nearly 300,000 sales and marketing jobs advertised last year but only 2,000 people left education with the appropriate qualifications.
He told the Plymouth Herald that at the same time the UK had produced 95,000 people who were qualified in hairdressing and beauty, but there were just 18,000 jobs.
Mr Wyness, who has been training salespeople for five years and offering one-year sales apprenticeships for three, said that most businesses required sales and marketing skills, but couldn't find the right staff.
"We find that businesses don't like working with young people because they don't have enough experience," he said. "Therefore, taking on a young person is risky.
"However, young people are often the best to mould into a sales role due to their energy and confidence in life.
"And it's a great career for young people who have the drive, enthusiasm and creativity to thrive in this environment.
"In addition to good career opportunities and high potential salaries, the skills they gain can be transferred."
Competitive Edge has eight staff. Mr Wyness's wife, Liz, is finance and quality director.
The firm trains young people already with city employers and those who are looking for a job.
"We can find them apprentice positions, or they can find jobs for themselves," Mr Wyness said.
Competitive Edge trains between 25 and 40 apprentices at any one time, eight of whom are taught at a "sales centre" set up at Tamar Science Park, and the rest with employers. "We aim to match the resources of the young to the businesses that are looking to grow," Mr Wyness said.
In addition to sales, the youngsters learn how to generate sales leads, use social media, and the skills needed in telesales and e-mail marketing.
He said these skills were not taught in traditional education, and added: "It's not linking to industry. Small businesses need sales, marketing and accounting."
Mrs Wyness said the training went beyond even skills, and was also about communicating effectively, work etiquette, and dress.
"A lot (of youngsters) have not have not had it instilled in them that they have to conform to certain business protocols," she said.
Competitive Edge has delivered training and consultancy to more than 200 businesses, among them Tamar Science Park's Squirrel Medical, which has two apprentices at Competitive Edge and aims to expand this to 12 by early 2013.
Chief executive Gary Baker said that as a small business his firm did not have the capacity to train sales staff on its own, despite them being needed.
"We're into research and design, without time to think about expansion," he said.
"These people can be trained specifically for the roles we have, which is very important."
Andy Burroughs, director of business development at Tamar Science Park, called Competitive Edge a "great initiative" which has complemented the 80 other firms based at the park.
"They have demonstrated the culture of enterprise, innovation and sales that is at the heart of values we hold at the park," he said.