BURNLEY Borough Council is hoping to appoint an unemployment guru as part of a pioneering strategy to help the long-term unemployed back into work.

The new post is to be created as part of the authority's economic development unit to develop initiatives to target the hard-to-reach, longer-term unemployed in the community.

The employment development co-ordinator will also focus on support for young people between the ages of 18 and 25. Burnley Executive will be asked to approve the creation of the post at their meeting tonight.

The funding of £100,000 over two and a quarter years will be provided by the neighbourhood renewal fund, with no financial implications to the council.

Economic development officer Hugh Simpson said the appointment had the backing of the social exclusion and employment network, which involved local agencies such as employment services and careers and local initiatives such as East Lancashire Into Employment and the Burnley Wood One Stop Shop.

He said: "The unit currently has no dedicated staff resources for this whole area of working with people, agencies and initiatives around the issues of access to work, with the exception of the Daneshouse Access Point.

"This post will, therefore, provide that dedicated resource which will enable the unit to provide a better focus on the access to work issues at a strategic borough-wide level."

He said the appointment would help the council as an employer to play a full role in national and local employment initiatives and was essential if the economic development unit was going to lead in that field.