Taxpayer funded employment schemes "should be for young people", as they need more help and the cost of youth unemployment to the economy is "something like £15bn", the head of the National Youth Agency said.
Chief Executive Fiona Blacke told Good Morning Britain "the economic argument" was stronger for focusing Government resources on combating youth unemployment than it was on supporting over 55s already in work.
Workers over 55 are "a vast untapped talent" with a "huge amount" to contribute to any workforce, the Pensions Minister said.
Announcing measures designed to help older people in the workplace, Steve Webb said:
We are living longer and can expect many more years of healthy life. It's great news - but it's something that as a society and as an economy we need to respond to.
The business case is compelling and the research we are launching today sets out clearly the advantages for individuals, employers and the state.
As part of building a fairer society, I am determined we boost our support for older workers and help employers challenge outdated perceptions to see the real strengths of this important section of the workforce.
The Government has announced a series of measures to support older people in work, including more healthcare support, which they say could boost the economy by billions.
Pensions minister Steve Webb said the scheme, which also included better access to flexible working and the appointment of an Older Workers' Employment Champion, would help expose the "real strengths" of over 55s.
The employment rate for 55 to 64-year-olds is around 60% and growing, but the Government said the recent improvement has been "relatively modest" compared to many other nations.
Managing director of Bath-based Chris Smith will today visit Marshfield Bakery Chris Smith praised the 16 members of staff over 50 he employed and said:
"Older employees, with their unrivalled experience, play a critical role in our team, including in mentoring and developing their younger colleagues."