The quality of vocational education and training in the further education (FE) sector is improving significantly. For example, colleges achieved a qualification success rate of 81 per cent in 2007-08, against the target of 80 per cent that was set for 2011. Our apprenticeship programme also saw a record successful achievement rate of 71 per cent in 2008-09—up from 37 per cent in 2004-05. The second inspection cycle of 2005-09 by the Office for Standards in Education, Children's Services and Skills (Ofsted) shows that 65 per cent of colleges were judged to be good or better. This is significantly better than the first cycle (2001-05) where less than 50 per cent of colleges were judged to be good or better.
We are also seeing increasing professionalism in the FE teaching workforce. Through a series of reforms, including requirements for teachers to hold appropriate qualifications; work towards qualified teacher learning and skills status; and be professionally registered with the Institute for Learning (IfL), we are ensuring that both pedagogical and subject specialist skills are maintained and enhanced. All teaching staff must undertake a minimum of 30 hours continuing professional development (CPD) each year and there is evidence that this minimum is generally being exceeded. The Business Interchange programme is providing opportunities for the workforce to update vocational skills through employer placements. There is early evidence from Ofsted inspections of the benefits of these reforms to teaching practice and learners.