Further education should be matched more closely to the needs of local
employers, according to government education standards inspectors.
Chief inspectors from the Office for Standards in Education (Ofsted) and the
Adult Learning Inspectorate criticised the range of full-time vocational
courses at levels one and two in their first annual report on post-16 education
and training in the UK.
They also found a lack of up-to-date industry expertise among teachers, and
a failure to share good teaching practice.
David Bell, her majesty’s chief inspector from Ofsted, said education
providers needed to improve links with employers.
"Action is needed to rationalise provision in many areas, and more
effective collaboration is needed between schools, colleges, local education
authorities, learning and skills councils and employers," he said.
The report concluded that work-based learning is poorer than other college
provision, with 43 per cent of such courses rated unsatisfactory or very poor.
It finds that some trainees develop useful practical skills, but achievement
rates are too low and workplace training is often poorly planned. Completion
rates in work-based training are low and teaching on level one and two is also
In colleges where work-based learning is good, inspectors found strong links
between college staff and employers. However, this was not typical.
The chief inspector of the Adult Learning Inspectorate, David Sherlock, said
effort is needed to ensure schools and colleges help organisations meet skills
"There is sometimes a lack of connection with employers and employment,
which means some courses do not reflect the real world of work and consequently
fail to meet the needs of adult learners or the economy," he said.