The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has welcomed a government announcement that employer training has reached record levels.

According to figures released by the Learning and Skills Council, the amount spent on training by organisations in the UK reached £38.6 billion last year, an increase of 16 per cent on 2005.

"Annual investment of nearly £39 billion is a real terms increase of £3.5bn since 2005 and shows business commitment to training cannot be doubted," stated Richard Wainer, CBI head of education and skills.

He added that employers are "clearly putting their money where their mouth is" when it comes to recognising that a skilled workforce is increasingly important to enhance competitiveness and productivity.

However, in a more cautionary note, Mr Wainer added that, while training provided by firms is important, it is also "vital" that staff arrive at the workplace with the basic literacy, numeracy and employability skills required of them, saying that "all too often" young people lack such abilities upon leaving education.