A FORMER head of Sony's PlayStation first division has joined a partnership that aims to spread digital and technical skills across the North West.

Dr Maria Stukoff, who is director of the University of Salford's Maker Space, will join an innovation hub run by East Lancashire Chamber of Commerce members IN4.0 Group that aims to support the development on new talent, particularly in the esports sector.

Dr Stukoff is renowned for her work as an 'imagineer' with Sony and as a former head of digital at the BBC Academy and hopes to impart her knowledge and skills to the next generation.

Mo Isap, CEO of IN4.0, added “Maria joins us with a wealth of experience in the immersive tech and esports space, and we’re confident her extensive knowledge, background and expertise will propel our innovation campus to be a beacon across the globe."

IN4.0 also manages The Landing, a technological hub in MediaCityUK, which works to provide space and training to various tech companies and will provide a key setting for Dr Stukoff's work.

As a board member of the British Esports Association and the Game Skills Council at ScreenSkills, Dr Stukoff is an avid champion of esports, which are sports competitions involving video games and XR immersive technology, which are games involving mobile devices that blur the line between the physical and digital worlds.

She says that the technology has, “the power to disrupt, transform and advance the way we work, play and learn,“ and that by, “bringing together this partnership we have an unparalleled opportunity to address the skills gap and develop innovation in the region to benefit our local community, industry partners and young people’s future lives.”

University of Salford pro vice-chancellor Jo Purves said: “Working in partnership with The Landing and IN4.0 is an example of the passion and dedication our organisations share to make sure we create real pathways for our talent pool, and I am excited for Mo Isap, CEO of IN4.0 Group to lead this partnership agreement.”

To find out more go to: https://www.thelanding.org.uk/.