The fortunes of 16 to 18 apprenticeships appear to be changing with the first year-on-year rise for the third quarter (Q3) of the academic year since 2010/11.

The number of under 19 apprenticeship starts for Q3 of the current academic year was 18,400 — the same period last year was 17,300, in 2011/12 it was 21,300 and in 2010/11 it was 24,800, but the year before that it had been 23,700.

The figures from the Statistical First Release, out on Thursday (June 26), were all provisional, but for August to April (quarters one, two and three) they also showed improvement with 95,200 16 to 18 starts this year versus 90,900 in 2012/13 — although in 2011/12 it had been 104,500.

Skills Minister Matthew Hancock told FE Week: “These provisional statistics show this government is supporting young people, with an increase in the number of 16 to 18-year-olds starting apprenticeships.”

However, the overall number of apprentices in Q3 fell by 900 on last year’s 100,400 and for August to April it was down by 45,600 from 360,200 due to declines in both 19 to 24 and 25+ apprentice starts.

The SFR further revealed there had been 7,400 traineeship start since the programme was launched in August, up until April.