McDonald’s, Network Rail and Flybe are to be allowed to award nationally recognised qualifications through their training programmes.
The government is set to announce that the three employers will accredit their own training equivalent to GCSEs, A levels and degrees.
McDonald’s will train staff for a certificate in basic shift management, which includes modules on human resources, finance and hygiene.
The three companies are the first to gain accrediting powers from the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority, which will oversee pilot schemes.
The government had previously suggested that employers should not be allowed to award their own qualifications. But recently skills secretary John Denham has come round to the idea as a way of boosting workplace skills and launched a consultation in September.
The CBI said it was “a positive move” towards an awards system that can deliver the skills employers need.
John Cridland, deputy director-general, said: “Companies currently invest £33bn every year in training their staff, but only one-third of employer training leads to qualifications because not enough official courses offer the competencies that employers require.
“Firms have instead run their own bespoke training programmes and formally recognising more of this employer training will lead to more relevant qualifications and give a greater recognition to business and employee investment in skills.”