Many employers do not think apprentices are right for their business or organisation, according to a survey.
Nearly half of the 500 employers surveyed by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) said they had not taken on an apprentice in the last three years.
Meanwhile just a third said they expected to take some on this year.
The CIPD said the government needed to do more to encourage businesses and organisations to consider apprenticeships.
It comes after Chancellor George Osborne announced extra funding for apprenticeship's in last month's budget.
Katerina Rudiger, of the CIPD, said: "The fact that many employers think apprentices are not right for their organisation, however, demonstrates that funding alone is not enough.
"Demand for apprentices in England has always been very low, especially when compared internationally. The government therefore needs to do more to make the business case to employers, highlighting the benefits apprentices can bring to organisations, such as relevant skills, loyalty, higher quality and greater productivity.
"Furthermore, if apprenticeships are to contribute to raising the UK's intermediate skills base and provide a real way into professions, they need to be of high quality.
"The proportion of higher-level apprenticeships in England is still too low, with our research showing most still pitched at a low level."
Chancellor George Osborne told the British Chambers of Commerce annual conference that there was a 'real commitment' from the government to help create more apprenticeships, with hundreds of millions of pounds being provided.
Copyright © Press Association 2011
Your comments (terms and conditions apply):
"I believe that apprenticeships are the very best way to train a newcomer into work. Not just for industrial jobs like mechanics, electricians, plunbers but apprenticeships for new police officers, new accountants, new nurses, new librarians etc, etc. The principle of a fully experienced older person training the new person by 'shadowing' seems obvious in any walk of life. Let's keep universities for those VERY FEW jobs where there is no other way to train" – Mike Pearson, Norfolk
"We need to stop being so fixated on academic qualifications and appreciate that not everything can usefully be studied at uni. Indeed the proliferation of 'mickey mouse' degrees has degraded all degrees. We need to accept that some things are best learned by apprenticships and value people with those qualifications just as much as those with degrees - different and inferior are not the same word. If I need a plumber for example I am not interested in the theory behind my dripping shower I want someone who can mend it properly. Maybe then more people would be attracted to apprenticeships? They should not be the preserve of those who are not able to get to uni, they should be a positive choice. Having had someone ask for work experience here – not quite the same thing I know- I was appalled. Unkempt, grunted replies, no eye contact, she did not want to be here but had been pointed at us. I would not have even considered employing her in the ordinary course and certainly I would not take her on as an apprentice/trainee receptionist with all the time investment that requires" – Name and address withheld