Apprenticeships offer one of the best means of training staff, according to one industry practitioner.

Stephen Gardner, director of apprenticeships at the Learning and Skills Council (LSC), said that the retention of apprentices within businesses once they have completed their training is often higher than it is among the rest of the workforce.

The expert commented: "[Employers] tell us that [apprenticeships are] the best means of training staff to fit into the business and to have the skills that they need."

He added that, by improving worker skills in this way, firms get more productive staff members who are also more loyal, which ultimately helps their "bottom line".

The government has called for employers to use apprenticeships as a means of achieving a more highly trained workforce, yet, according to the LSC, only six per cent of organisations currently offer such a training scheme.