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Most British employers are behind the drive to create more apprenticeships and plan to increase their use of apprentice programmes in the future, a study has shown.Four out of five (81 per cent) employers expect apprenticeships to play a bigger part in their recruitment policy in future, a Populus survey for the National Apprenticeship Service revealed. Three-quarters (75 per cent) agreed that the economic climate made apprenticeships all the more important. Reduced recruitment costs, and the perception that apprentices make a valuable contribution to the business at an early stage, were the most frequent arguments cited in favour.Minister for skills, John Hayes MP, welcomed the findings, which came at the end of the government’s Apprenticeship Week."This research demonstrates that British businesses realise how important apprenticeships can be in helping their companies to grow,” said Hayes. "Clarity of policy, strength of commitment and certainty of purpose in government has delivered record numbers of apprenticeship starts, outstanding success rates and growth across all sectors. “This success, mirrored in every English region, is putting businesses on stronger ground to deliver a more balanced economy." Apprenticeship week has seen a host of employers pledge an increase in their apprenticeship numbers, including Siemens, BAE Systems, Starbucks, Hilton Hotels, McDonalds and British Airways.Keith Williams, chief executive of British Airways, which will take on an additional 200 apprentices, said: "Our apprentices have become a crucial part of our operation since we launched new schemes in 2010. I'm extremely proud that in a year when all eyes are on emerging young talent we are seeing our biggest intake of apprentices."Jaine Bolton, director of the National Apprenticeship Service, added: “Encouraging more employers to offer quality apprenticeships is absolutely vital in equipping young people with the skills they need for the future – and the skills that Britain needs to grow.“We are committed to creating a new era for Apprenticeships with increased quality of courses and ensuring that there has never been a better time to offer or take an apprenticeship.”The CIPD recently released guidance for employers on creating quality apprenticeships. It is also developing a higher apprenticeship for HR.