Tesco has offered an “alternative” work experience programme after a government-led scheme received a storm of criticism.

The UK’s largest private sector employer said any young person accepted for work experience with Tesco will be offered a choice between an internal scheme or the under fire Get Britain Working programme

Tesco has called for the Department of Work and Pensions to remove the risk of losing benefits that currently follows the four-week placement.

Tesco’s alternate scheme offers a four-week placement, with a guaranteed permanent job at the end of it, provided they complete the placement satisfactorily.

The grocer came under fire last week after an advert for job for an overnight shift worker advert, mistakenly posted online, appeared to offer a job with no wages, just expenses.

Tesco committed to 3,000 work placements under the government’s work experience scheme. To date around 1,500 have been delivered. It will offer the choice of paid work and the jobs guarantee to all of the remaining placements.

Matalan has suspended its involvement in the government-led scheme to which Boots, McDonald’s, Argos, Tesco and Primark subscribe.

Tesco UK chief executive Richard Brasher said: “We know it is difficult for young people to give up benefits for a short-term placement with no permanent job at the end of it.

“So this guarantee that a job will be available provided the placement is completed satisfactorily, should be a major confidence boost for young people wanting to enter work on a permanent basis.”

A spokesman said: “The 300 young people undertaking work experience with Tesco have already found work with us and we are confident that many more will through this approach.”