The pilots are part of the overall strategy to help the very long-term unemployed back to work. They are one of several government wide initiatives in 'Welfare to Work' week. Project Work will help those out of work for more than two years. The pilots will run from April 1996 to June 1997, providing 6,000-8,000 places for those aged 18-50.
The pilots will provide 13 weeks of jobsearch help followed by 13 weeks of work experience. Those on work experience will receive an allowance equal to their benefit plus £10.
Education and employment secretary Gillian Shephard said: 'Our aim is to help people who have not worked for a long time to find work. We are piloting a new approach. Our message is 'we will make every effort to help you get a job, and if we can't, we will give you a period of work experience.
'Unemployed people are keen to work and are making an effort to find work. They will welcome this extra help. But anyone who did refuse to participate fully in the work experience programme, without good reason, would lose some or all of their benefits.'