A CONFERENCE aimed at highlighting the impact learning and development can make on the regional economic strategy, has received the support of business and education chiefs from across the North-East.

The aim of the day was to develop the workforce of the future through foresight, and was initiated by Foresight North East and organised by technology transfer company RTC North.

The event attracted a number of different groups bringing together business, government and the science base to look at the future in terms of the potential opportunities for the UK's economy.

Headmaster at Gateshead's Emmanuel College. Nigel McQuoid, was one of those attending and he urged employers to spend more time and effort in seeking ways to motivate individuals and stimulate self-belief.

"Whether we are discussing pupils or employees, teachers or modern apprentices, a person's value can surely never be properly measured by simply comparing them with someone else," he said.

"If we as schools, businesses, even as society, perpetrate such measures, we will lock ourselves into a mind set in which few succeed and most fail."

The Foresight North East lifelong learning and development group is chaired by David Cheetham, principle of Gateshead College.

He said: "We need champions, if we don't do it, no-one else will. Partnership is hard work but successful.

"We want to get the most out of the region's assets so we have to do something that makes a difference."

Also present was regional development agency One NorthEast who wanted to use the event to reach a wider audience.

Neil Mundy of One NorthEast said: "I think it is important to recognise the need to work closely together to manage change and to reach out to the community.

"The outcome of days like this are that we at One NorthEast must listen very carefully to the views expressed, and build them into what we are taking forward - the Innovation Action Plan."