Councils are facing a crisis in recruitment for regulatory services such as trading standards and environmental health, according to the Employers' Organisation for Local Government (EO), which has invested £780,500 to tackle skills shortages.
The funding comes from the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister/Local Government Agency capacity building programme for 2004-05, and includes funding for 147 practical training placements and 57 work experience programmes.
The move came after the EO received 170 requests for funding from local authorities to address recruitment and training problems in the regulatory services.
Derek Allen, executive director of the Local Authorities Co-ordinator of Regulatory Services, said: "Trading standards and environmental health services have been struggling to recruit and retain staff for some time and this initiative shows the high level of interest in these very important areas of local authority work.
"This funding is essential to help replace natural turnover and the loss of qualified staff," he said.