Nearly half of small businesses are unaware they can get free training for their staff from their local college, research has shown.
A YouGov poll commissioned by the Learning and Skills Council found 57 per cent of small companies do not use further education colleges to train their employees, but those which do are enthusiastic about the results, with 87 per cent saying training brought benefits.
Ray Dowd, the council's agenda for change champion, said: "The challenge to FE colleges is to get more small businesses to take advantage of the training they provide and that means closer relationships and clearer marketing.
"Colleges need to get better at speaking the language of business and that means talking about how training increases productivity and profitability as well as giving learners a qualification."
John Brennan, the chief executive of the Association of Colleges, said the LSC had a statutory duty to encourage employers to take part in post-16 training and his association would encourage it to work with them to promote further education.