A leading employers' organisation has called for a national investigation of ways for businesses to boost opportunities for further education students to learn in the workplace.
The Council for Industry and Higher Education wants more than just an increase in work experience. It wants placements and projects which help teach the curriculum.
Recommendations in the report Colleges and Companies - Sharing Great Expectations - expose frustrations over the lack of action promised by the former Employment Department to tackle the low uptake of college places for employee release and urges colleges to take greater initiative in creating the demand for lifelong learning.
Patrick Coldstream, the council's director, said: "It is on the colleges that the UK now relies to be the largest source of the skilled middle-range staff on which industrial efficiency and improvement depend."