Alan Parker, chairman of UK support body, the Film Council, has called on the film industry to support a major research project that will inform a new and comprehensive skills strategy for the sector.

Parker, whose role at the Film Council reflects his support for skills and training in the industry, urged employers, industry bodies and educational institutions to recognise the importance of the research and participate fully.

"Training is vital to every part of the UK film industry. Whilst the industry unarguably offers some of the best skills and talent in film today, we need to retain and develop these talents if we are to continue to compete successfully in this global industry," says Parker.

Stewart Till, vice chairman of Skillset and deputy chairman of the Film Council will chair the group that will meet over the coming months to report in October on their recommendations on strategy and the plan of action that will follow.

Till stated, "This research will help to pin-point current and emerging skills shortages in the workforce and where training needs to be strengthened in order to enable the UK industry to become a stronger and more confident world-wide player."

The project was launched on 28 May at the first meeting of the Film Skills Group, which will oversee and steer the research. The group includes representatives from all sub sectors of the film industry (including development, production, post-production, distribution and exhibition) as well as trade unions, professional bodies and the research's commissioners - Skillset, the Film Council, Sgrîn, Scottish Screen and the Northern Ireland Film Commission.

From June to September interviewers will talk to industry organisations, employers, trainers and educationalists across the UK. Their aim will be to identify occupations where industry skills are falling short of commercial requirements. The project will also look for international examples of successful training models that could be adapted for UK introduction.