As many as one in five firms are currently facing a six-month wait in order to fill vacancies for skilled workers.
Half of UK businesses say it takes longer to recruit people compared with five years ago, according to research by the British Chambers of Commerce and jobs site, Indeed.
The report said new T-levels, due to be introduced in 2020, promise to offer young people a new route into employment, providing a quality, technical alternative to A-levels.
But three out of four firms polled said they have never heard of T-levels or know only the name, with only three per cent knowing a lot of details.
T-levels will include a 45-day industry placement with an employer, but two out of five respondents to the survey said their business currently has no plans to offer one.
The warning comes after a separate study by the CBI showed Yorkshire firms were facing a significant gulf in competitiveness owing to a widening skills gap between the region and the South East.
It showed 33 per cent of Yorkshire workers were educated beyond A-Level standards, as compared with 53 per cent in London.
Claire Walker, inset, co-executive director at the British Chambers of Commerce, said: “For too long the UK’s approach to training has been characterised by constant chopping and changing of policy.
“The new apprenticeship standards, and T-levels, provide the opportunity to ramp up quality and choice in technical and vocational qualifications, but more needs to be done to remove the blockers in the skills system – and communicate the benefits of these reforms – to get it working better for busin- esses.”