Prime Minister David Cameron is expected to announce that in future, apprenticeships will last at least a year and will be based on standards designed by employers, to meet the specific needs of their industry.
Apprentices will be subjected to more thorough academic assessment - including maths and English tests - and graded at pass, merit or distinction level in a similar way to their contemporaries in full-time education. At least 20% of their training will take place away from their work stations.
Downing Street said it was intended that all new apprenticeships will meet the new standards by 2017/18.
More top news
The returns of Benedict Cumberbatch's detective and the X Factor judge were among 2014's most tweeted TV moments in a billion conversations.
A family has issued an appeal to help find their missing pet turkey - in case he gets gobbled up as someone's Christmas dinner.
The winner of X-Factor Ben Haenow has revealed how keen he is to have the Christmas number one.