New lecturers are being held back by their lack of effective practical experience, Ofsted inspectors say in a report on initial training of FE teachers.
They note a large gap in quality between the taught course and the teaching practice, which was often inadequate. Most trainees were left on their own to make connections between practice and theory.
Mentoring was often weak, most frequently for trainees employed outside the providing institution, the inspectors say. "Trainees rarely had a sufficiently broad range of practical teaching experience and were not well prepared for working with younger students."
Some trainee lecturers were also weak in the basic skills of reading, writing or maths. Colleges are criticised for often failing to address trainees' individual weaknesses.
But they note improvements since last year and say over half of the trainees were good or outstanding. Nearly two-thirds of the courses were good and none unsatisfactory.