UK training body Skillset has launched a new Film Trainee Scheme.

The initiative was announced at a Skillset Connects networking lunch in London.

The scheme will let newcomers work on productions shooting in the UK. Trainee positions will be heavily subsidised by Skillset, to help productions get suitable, diverse trainees and to give trainees experience on set.

The trainees will only be available to productions paying into the Skills Investment Fund - currently voluntary contributions from productions but moving to a mandatory levy of .5% of a film's budget from December 2008 (details and exemptions are yet to be announced.)

Producer Iain Smith is the new chair of the Film Industry Training Board, which will oversee SIF. Smith said: 'The move to a mandatory SIF is hugely positive for the UK film production industry. And the launch of this exciting Skillset Film Trainee Scheme is a fantastic benefit for all the productions that pay the SIF. This is another great incentive for foreign productions to choose to film in the UK. I'm delighted to be working with Skillset and Roy Button to make this happen.'

Button, senior VP and managing director production, Warner Brothers Productions, added: 'I'm delighted to be involved in shaping the future of the Skillset Film Trainee Scheme, which provides an excellent new way for trainees and producers to work together with the aim of providing additional production support throughout the industry as well as new skills and experience for newcomers.'