Leif Mills, chairman of the TUC's education and training committee, said yesterday that even government departments had to be persuaded to commit themselves to the scheme.
'Employers have to face up to their own responsibilities and train their workforce,' he said.
The Department of Employment said it always expected a slow start to the award process. It added that 1,200 companies had committed themselves to the IIP standards, which often took up to a year to implement.
Mr Mills said the slow response was indicative of a complacency among employers about the amount of training taking place. He said a poll commissioned by the TUC showed that three-quarters of employees thought companies did not provide sufficient training and most workers (69 per cent) were interested in developing skills, with the proportion highest among manual workers.
The IIP award sets targets for a proportion of workers to achieve National Vocational Qualifications and is monitored every 12 months.