Sainsbury's launched a new trainee scheme this week that it says could create thousands of new jobs across the UK.

The Supplier Trainee Partnerships will initially offer 100 trainees 12-month paid contracts with 60 suppliers in construction, engineering, facilities management and retail. Trainees will start work in July on a range of development projects, with a "slight emphasis on green jobs and sustainability". All will be encouraged to apply for a permanent job afterwards.

"This programme is a real chance for candidates to enjoy a year of unrivalled on-the-job training with companies that are leaders in their fields," said Sainsbury's commercial director Neil Sachdev.

If the scheme proved successful, thousands of other Sainsbury's suppliers would join the scheme, he added. "The fact that we can pool all these resources means this scheme really has legs."

The scheme would particularly appeal to the UK's one million unemployed under-25s , but would also be a "fantastic opportunity" for anyone looking to get a foothold in the industry, he added.

Sainsbury's has also recruited 85 graduates for its 2010 graduate programme up from 65 in 2009 and tripled the number of year-long and three-month paid work placements available. In March, it launched its Bakery College, which offers trainee bakers six-month NVQ courses.