Prime Minister Gordon Brown has pledged to ensure every young person has done 50 hours of voluntary work by the time they are 19 years old.
Mr Brown said a promise to bring in compulsory community service would be a part of his next election manifesto.
Under the scheme, the work may include helping charities and is likely to become part of the school curriculum.
The scheme would be woven into plans to make everyone stay in education or training until the age of 18 by 2011.
Mr Brown told the News of the World newspaper: "It is my ambition to create a Britain in which there is a clear expectation that all young people will undertake some service to their community, and where community service will become a normal part of growing up in Britain.
"And, by doing so, the contributions of each of us will build a better society for all of us."
The prime minister added: "That would mean young people being expected to contribute at least 50 hours of community service by the time they have reached the age of 19.
"This will build on the platform provided by citizenship classes as they develop in our schools. But because the greater part of what I envisage as community service takes place outside the school day, it will require the close involvement of local community organisations and charities."
Mr Brown said the work would also be linked to a "clear system of accreditation" so that young people would be able mark their achievements gained through volunteering.
He added: "By building from compulsory citizenship studies in the 14-16 curriculum, we can create an expectation of national youth community service."
Gordon Brown first proposed the idea of a National Youth Service to channel teenagers into voluntary work last year.
It is due to be formally launched in September, and would become compulsory if Labour were re-elected.