Japan's Studio Ghibli announced plans today to open a training facility to foster the next generation of animation talent.

Dubbed 'Ghibli West', the facility will open next spring in the city of Toyota, Aichi Prefecture. Toyota is also famously known as the birthplace of Toyota Motors.

Prospective trainees will join the facility as Studio Ghibli contract employees, following a multi-stage selection process taking place from this September to November. During the two-year course they will study animation based on techniques used by famed director Hayao Miyazaki. Graduates will then have a chance to produce short films.

The initiative follows years of speculation on how long the 67-year-old Miyazaki will continue to direct. Miyazaki has himself considered retirement on several occasions.

While Studio Ghibli has produced films by other directors, including Miyazaki's mentor Isao Takahata (My Neighbours The Yamadas), Miyazaki's son Goro (Tales From Earthsea) and the late Yoshifumi Kondo (Whispers Of The Heart), the plan hopes to foster future Ghibli talent.

Miyazaki's Ponyo On The Cliff By The Sea continues to dominate the summer box office, topping the charts three weeks in a row and grossing over $30m to date since its July 19 release.