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REGIONS KEEN TO BECOME PILOTS

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Councils in the regions invited to bid to be prototypes for the welfare to work programme are welcoming the chance ...
Councils in the regions invited to bid to be prototypes for the welfare to work programme are welcoming the chance to be employers.

Councils in the regions invited to bid to be prototypes for the welfare to work programme are welcoming the chance to be employers.

Eight 'employment zones' have been invited by employment minister Andrew Smith to submit proposals to be one of around five prototype areas.

Birmingham City Council economic development director Richard Green said it was interested both in bidding as a partner to provide welfare to work projects and in being a subsidised employer.

'This is an exciting opportunity for Birmingham to tackle problems of long term unemployment and the social and economic exclusion that follows,' he said.

A City of Glasgow spokeswoman said the council wanted to be involved as a partner and would also want to be an employer in the scheme.

Doncaster MBC would 'obviously' consider bidding for a place in the programme and taking on jobseekers, a spokeswoman said.

Guidance says only one bid from each region will be considered. Outline bids must be submitted by 6 October.

In a letter to organisations in the zones, Mr Smith said business, voluntary and training bodies should 'work together to provide new and innovative opportunities to improve the employability of specific client groups'.

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