British companies should have the power to award their own nationally recognised qualifications to employees, according to the CBI.
The employers' organisation believes that employees are being wrongly labelled as 'low-skilled' because the national qualification system does not recognise training schemes that many people undertake at work.
In a report entitled Shaping up for the future: the business vision for education & skills, the CBI calls on the government to shake up the qualifications framework to enable high quality staff training to be recognised, in line with the Leitch Review recommendations.
UK businesses invested £33bn on staff training last year, the highest in the EU and more than the US and Japan. However, only one in three pounds represented a formal award, according to the CBI.
John Cridland, deputy director-general of the CBI, said: "UK workers are wrongly branded as laggards in the skills stakes even though employers are spending more on training than in the rest of the EU, the US and Japan.
"Our best schemes deliver results on a par with anything the rest of the world can offer. The qualifications framework must give official recognition to the training provided in many firms and ensure that the skills of UK employees are accurately reflected, as both Lord Leitch and ministers recognise," Cridland added.
The national cost of administering the self-accreditation process has been calculated at £470m. The CBI has included this in its submission to the Treasury for the forthcoming Comprehensive Spending Review.