Manufacturers have attacked funding cuts for older apprentices.
EEF West Midlands has strongly criticised allocations for work based study announced by the Coventrybased Learning and Skills Council.
The overall budget is going up 6.6 per cent to £68 million, but, while spending on 16-18 year olds rises 2.5 per cent, that on over-19s goes down six per cent.
Whilst welcoming the increase, EEF warns the reduction in funding for older apprentices will seriously recruitment and training and threaten industry's efforts to improve its skill base.
EEF also claimed the decision ran counter to the Government's efforts to promote adult apprenticeships.
"Figures from a recent survey conducted by the EEF show that funding levels for older apprenticeships are already a serious deterrent to companies ability to train them, with just under a quarter saying that it was the biggest constraint on their recruitment," said EEF.
"In addition, with funding for those over 18 already far less than for 16-18 year olds EEF believes that the decision to force companies to pay more to train older apprentices will penalise manufacturing particularly hard.
"The announcement will affect a disproportionate number of advanced apprentices where manufacturing has the greatest need."
The EEF also expressed its disappointment that much of the increase in funding would go on improving completion rates in underachieving sectors, rather than "a sector with a proven track record of delivering success such as engineering".
Bill Nicholls, director for education and training development for EEF West Midlands, said: "This decision flies in the face of all logic at a time when we should be trying to enhance our skill base.
"All the evidence points to lack of intermediate skills being a serious drag on efforts to improve our productivity and a reduction in funding for older apprentices will do nothing to help industry improve its skill base."