Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Do Not Disregard Older Workers, Tech Firms Told; DIGITAL

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Do Not Disregard Older Workers, Tech Firms Told; DIGITAL

Article excerpt

Byline: graeme whitfield

THE North East's burgeoning IT sector has been challenged to be more in tune with the 'real world' around them - including doing more to include older people.

The challenge to the region's digital companies came from innovation expert Prof James Woudhuysen, who was speaking at the annual Dynamo conference in Durham.

More than 350 delegates from around the region attended the event, held by the body set up to grow the region's IT and digital economy.

Prof Woudhuysen, a visiting professor at London South Bank University, listed 16 areas he believed the region's tech sector should explore in order to grow, including massmanufactured buildings; shale gas and oil; subsea technologies; service robots for old people; electric cars and robot commercial vehicles; quantum technologies and virtualreality technology.

But he also said the region's technology companies "need to know the world around you - understand what is really happening - in order to identify the opportunities for the sector."

He added: "The North East has an interest in a lot of these areas and could further exploit them. I'm not flattering the North East, it's happening, as long as it doesn't concentrate too much on IT start-ups.

"The other thing I want to say is that the future of work is the future of older workers and it's time we stopped indulging tech-savvy millennials and appreciated older people are going to be a vital part of the workforce. Youth should respect older people and older people should listen to youth.

"Lastly, the North East needs to get its act together, not against the North West or London, or against anyone. Your competitive strength will come from your excellence - make a bigger cake and everyone will come to your door. …

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