The British Institute of Retailing is rolling out two three-year regional pilot programmes which link education providers with the retail industry. The schemes, in the north west and south west of England, are being run with regional development agencies and the new local Learning and Skills Councils which have responsibility for funding further education for 16-year-olds and above. The project in the north west is with the Usdaw union and aims to increase public understanding of lifelong learning in the workplace. The second is a study of the viability of market and coastal towns and shoppers' reasons for choosing local stores or out of town sites. The institute has also just awarded individual membership to the first 75 retail managers who completed a pilot accreditation scheme. The scheme aims to recognise their professional capabilities and raise the professional status of managers. The BIR now plans to roll out the scheme over the next three years. The institute has corporate members including Majestic Wine Warehouses, M&S, Somerfield and Tesco. {{NEWS }}