The number of Employer Training Pilots is to be increased by a third after Chancellor Gordon Brown announced a £190m boost for the scheme.
ETPs will launch in a further six local Learning and Skills Council areas, bringing the total to 18. The six areas have yet to be anounced.
The pilots, launched in 2002, aim to help low-skilled people in work gain basic skills or their first level 2 qualification.
* paid time off work to train
* wage compensation for employers
* free or subsidised training
* information, advice and guidance for employers and employees
The move follows an independent evaluation of the first year of the pilots by the Institute for Employment Studies which judged ETPs to have been 'successful in getting substantial numbers of employers involved in training their low-skilled employees to qualifications'.
The IES study found that at the end of the first year, over 3,000 employers and 14,000 employees were involved in the scheme, with a drop out rate of just 4%.
Over 70% of employers taking part had fewer than 50 employees and 40% had no previous contact with a government agency, suggesting that ETPs are reaching workplaces where training has not been a high priority in the past.
The Government said that the expansion of ETPs would help it to explore the impact of the pilots demand for training.