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COLLABORATION is the key to success.

This was the main message from a conference held to promote the South.

Speakers and sponsors of Regenerate South Conference 2018

Speakers and sponsors of Regenerate South Conference 2018

The Regenerate South Conference, organised by Business South, took place yesterday at 2000 Lakeside, North Harbour.

More than 230 people from businesses, organisations and local authorities met to discuss ways of working together.

Tim Hancock, chair of the Business South Regenerate South Action Group, opened the event.

Mr Hancock called on businesses and authorities to ‘provide a more cohesive voice for the region.’

He added: ‘A key objective of today is to foster working relationships to promote the region as a whole.’

Andrew Carter, director of policy and research at Centre For Cities, gave the keynote speech.

He said that businesses needed to prepare for the ‘AI revolution’.

Mr Carter said that by 2030 there would be a 19 per cent drop in jobs in Portsmouth due to automation and technology, and that routine jobs such as cashiers, warehouse workers and call centre operatives would be most affected.

However, he believes it would also create more highly skilled jobs, especially in the health and education sectors.

He said: ‘Automation is coming in and we need to be ready for it.’

Mr Carter said the second major challenge facing the area was Brexit due to the amount of exports made to the EU as more than 50 per cent of products made in the UK are exported, compared to 10 per cent in the US and three per cent in China.

He said: ‘Whether we have a hard or soft Brexit, if conditions change our ability to interact with Europe it will have a negative impact.’

Mr Carter also called for the South to join together to rival the Northern Powerhouse and lobby government for investment.

Representatives from Hampshire County Council, Southampton City Council, Bournemouth Borough Council and Portsmouth City Council also spoke.

Claire Upton-Brown, assistant director of city development at Portsmouth City Council, said the authority was working to improve infrastructure to attract investment. She also said they were working to unlock difficult development sites in the city.

She said: ‘Quality is key for us. It is not just about creating development. It is creating integrated communities with quality jobs and homes.’

She insisted the city centre redevelopment was a major focus, with the new road system being put in.

‘It will knit back together the city centre and create a great development opportunity,’ she said.

Other topics discussed included how to improve transport infrastructure in the region and how to attract international investment.