Young jobseekers in London will have to take part in the Government's new work experience pilot

A pilot scheme has been launched to help young people in London boost their career prospects by gaining valuable experience in the workplace.

Under the initiative, young people who have not previously completed six months of paid employment will have to undertake work experience or risk losing their benefits.

In general, the performance of young Londoners at school is above average, but they are still struggling to get a foothold on the jobs ladder, which is why the scheme is being trialled.

The pilot, launched by employment minister Chris Grayling and London Mayor Boris Johnson, will start by helping to give about 6,000 Londoners 30 hours of work experience over a 13-week period.

It is hoped this will enable them to put something back into their communities in line with the Government's aim to ensure a wider social contribution, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) said.

Placements, contracted out to providers, will be carried out in a wide range of sectors including charities, social enterprises and voluntary organisations.

All of them will be required by the Government to deliver clear benefits to the communities in which people taking part in the project live.

The placements must also offer advice and support, such as how to write a professional-looking CV and how to impress at an interview, to help young people boost their employability in an increasingly competitive jobs market.

The trial, which is part of the Mayor's pledge to help create 200,000 jobs over the next four years and the DWP's target of introducing more back to work schemes, will be contracted out to providers in the next few weeks and start later in the year.

Mr Johnson said he was committed to doing all he could to help young jobseekers find work, stating: "It's no secret that work experience can be the key that opens the door to a successful career and more young Londoners need to be given the opportunity to do it.

"Right now it's a tough labour market out there and we have to ensure that all young people get the skills they need to succeed and for which employers are crying out. "

Copyright Press Association 2012