The government's Train to Gain Scheme, which it has claimed will put employers at the centre of efforts to close skills gaps, is to be rolled out across the country this month.
The scheme will benefit 50,000 employers and 350,000 employees every year, the government claims.
Employers are to get access to a free Skills Broker service, which will offer advice to match training needs with training providers.
Employees will be provided with skills intended to boost productivity and competitiveness and improve life chances for those with a lower level of skills.
Secretary of state for education and skills, Alan Johnson, said: "Train to Gain puts employers at the heart of the drive to close skills gaps and boost productivity.
"Training providers will ensure that top quality training is adapted to the needs of employers and their staff and is delivered in a targeted and flexible way within the workplace, from basic reading and maths up to key technician level and beyond."
Chancellor Gordon Brown said that it was vital to continuously develop the skills of the UK workforce if the nation was to succeed in the modern global economy.