The vast majority of UK businesses are planning to hire apprentices and graduates in 2014, a new report has revealed.
According to the On The Up publication, which was released by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), four in five firms expect job opportunities for young people to open up next year.
Of the 325 firms surveyed that employ more than one million people, more than half expect to grow their workforce over the next 12 months.
What's more, nearly all organisations said that flexible employment options, such as the recruitment of agency staff and remote working, are vital to the economy.
Katja Hall, chief policy director at the CBI, noted that the recovery is beginning to have an impact on businesses' hiring plans, and jobs are being created across most regions in the UK.
"Our labour market performed well throughout the recession and pay caution and flexible contracts will continue to underpin growth," she added.
The research demonstrates how an increasing number of British employers are recognising the benefits the younger generation could bring to their companies, with apprenticeships giving them the chance to tailor their workers' skills in accordance with the needs of the business.
Olly Benzecry, managing director of Accenture, which co-produced the report, said that UK companies are clearly realising the value of closer collaboration with education and the need for more vocational training and apprenticeships, "and this is starting to translate into action".
Firms in the East Midlands and Yorkshire and Humberside were found to be most optimistic regarding their recruitment prospects.
Local businesses in the latter region looking to take on apprentices should seek advice from Virtual College, an e-learning training provider based in Ilkley, West Yorkshire.
The company, which boasts a range of online recruitment solutions, helps clients to offer the best training programmes for young people embarking upon apprenticeships, and equips them with the tools to roll out an engaging, flexible and informative model for learners.