Page last updated at 11:53 GMT, Tuesday, 13 April 2010 12:53 UK

Students move annual conference to Sage Gateshead

The Sage Gateshead. Photo: Alex Telfer
The Sage Gateshead's facilities are "second to none", the NUS said

Tyneside is hosting the first National Union of Students (NUS) conference to be held outside the North West in 20 years.

Nearly 1,500 students have gathered at the Sage Gateshead, which will also host the conference next year.

The event is expected to provide a boost to the local economy.

The NUS has said the music venue was chosen because the North East has a good record of showing strong support to the region's students.

'Real coup'

Wes Streeting, NUS national president, said: "The Sage Gateshead has shown its commitment to education, community and outreach activities, and the facilities are second to none.

"We are grateful for the huge support they have given students."

Jessica Roberts, head of business tourism at NewcastleGateshead Initiative, said: "To bring a conference of this scale and profile to the north east of England is a real coup."

The conference, which is traditionally held in Blackpool, will help showcase the region as a place to live, work and learn, she added.

The NUS is a confederation of 600 students' unions, representing more than seven million students.

The future funding of further and higher education will be among the issues being discussed this week.

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