The government's promised skills revolution did not materialise in 2008.
Key government targets have been missed, and the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) insisted the training system was "undoubtedly" as complicated as it was 12 months ago.
But so far, just 291,000 staff have achieved a Level 2 qualification through Train to Gain, falling short of the 350,000 target for 2008.
Earlier this year, the government conceded that the flagship skills brokerage service had under-spent by £200m.
About 6,000 employers have signed the skills pledge to give staff Level 2 training, but this is a fraction of the 2.2 million in the UK.
BCC skills policy adviser John Lucas said the funding system still baffled employers. Confirmation in the Queen's Speech that the Learning and Skills Council would be replaced by a new Skills Funding Agency showed the confusion that remained, he said.
Lucas told Personnel Today: "The constant moving of the deckchairs is not constructive. The government should work with the existing skills system - there have been up to five reincarnations of the system over the past 11 years. Undoubtedly, the number of agencies involved is confusing still."
He stressed that most employers were committed to training staff, but said many were put off using the state system and opted to work with private sector providers instead.
Frances O'Grady, deputy general secretary at the TUC, agreed that progress had been patchy. "We need to do away with every excuse that has been used [by employers] not to sign [the pledge]," she said.