The former Transport Secretary, Lord Adonis, says the region needs much higher skill levels.
The Labour peer, who is reviewing the economic future of the North East, was talking to business and local authority leaders.
At a conference at the Baltic in Gateshead, he called for more apprenticeships and higher standards in schools to address the skills shortage.
Lord Adonis also said stronger partnerships between councils and the business community was vital for a successful future and new jobs.
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Failed high street retailer Comet has set up a website for former Comet employees as well as those finishing work today.
The site, cometjobs.co.uk, offers a 'The Daily Jobs' email circular of vacancies, an employee help line, fact sheet and postings on the latest jobs with other retailers.
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Business owners operating inside Middlesbrough bus station say they should be given compensation because a period of renovations to the site has reduced the number of customers passing through.
The station is currently undergoing an upgrade, which means buses will being diverted for up the six weeks. Business owners say takings have fallen by up to 70% and Middlesbrough council should reduce their rent throughout the work.
The council says it has made clear that shops inside the station remain open and is on regular contact with owners on the upgrade progress.
Young’s Seafood Limited have announced that they are closing the former Cumbrian Seafoods’ Border Laird business in Amble in Northumberland with the loss of 38 jobs.
The news comes after a third party, which had an interest in the langoustine business (now known as Ocean Pure), withdrew their offer.
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Ammar Mirza, Secretary-General of Asian Business Connections, said today the Queen's speech doesn't go far enough to help businesses succeed.
The government has promised to cut red tape and make Britain more business friendly.
But he wants more financial help in the form of cuts to VAT and employers' National Insurance Contributions.
The owner of 445 care homes which is responsible for looking after some 20,000 residents has agreed to be sold to financier Guy Hands' private equity firm for £825 million, it was announced today.
Four Seasons Health Care - who have a base in Darlington - the UK's largest independent elderly and specialist care provider will be sold to private equity firm, Terra Firma.