The government has been urged to open traineeships up to more providers after the programme was boosted with figures showing 1,700 more people started on the scheme in the first three months of 2014/15 than in the entire first half of last academic year.

Information in the latest statistical first release (SFR) showed 5,000 starts on the programme in the first quarter of this academic year, compared to 3,300 in the first six months of 2013/14.

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