Meet the Team

Gail Dixon
Qualified Interpreter RSLI, TCQA, ALSI Director

First inspired to learn sign language to communicate with her daughter; Gail went on to qualify as a sign language interpreter after studying the Postgraduate Diploma in British Sign Language/English Interpreting at the University of Central Lancashire. Gail is registered with the NRCPD and as native of Lancashire, she prefers to work in North West England. Working mainly in Healthcare, Mental Health, Social Services, Community, Training Courses and Higher Education settings. Gail follows a practice profession approach to my interpreting work.

Gail says she receives regular supervision and appreciates the many benefits it brings. She feels that it has been fundamental in developing her abilities to reflect on her interpreting practice and undertake appropriate development opportunities to hone her skills. Motivated by her own experience of supervision; she has completed a Certificate in Clinical Supervision that is approved by the BPS (British Psychological Society), the only UK psychology and psychotherapy body established by Royal Charter and one of the primary national leads in determining national recommendation on clinical supervision across a range of groups.

Gail is a isted NRCPD Supervisor of Trainee Interpreters and holds a certificate in Assessing Vocational Achievement. Gail is extremely familiar with the National Occupational Standards for Interpreting and is a member of the steering group for the current review of the National Occupational Standards for Interpreting. Apart form this Gailis also the ASLI Director and chair of the Board Gail is responsible for organising and Chairing the ASLI Annual General Meetings. and organised the 2014 ASLI Conference and a one-day training course on interpreting for personal independence payments in 2017.

Gail regularly co-presents a workshop with Dr Terry Riley on working with interpreters and how the Deaf community can support interpreters and the interpreting sector.

To maintain her work-life balance, she likes to  ensure she remains creative, curious and eclectic by sharing my love of art, music and good food with my family and friends.

Stephen Ellis-Menton
BA Ed (QTS Hons) RSLI, MVLP, TQAC BSL>English Interpreter, Spanish > English Translator, Lead Tutor, A1 Assessor -  Trainee Internal Quality Assurer

Stephen has been involved in the Liverpool Deaf Community for the past 20 years and he has been a Community Interpreter for the past 16 years, working in a broad variety of domains. Stephen first started formally learning BSL at the age of 15 but came into interpreting after first training as a teacher, completing the BA Ed (QTS) at Liverpool Hope University. However he decided that he wanted to pursue his other passion; sign language. Therefore he completed his NVQ 4 in BSL and NVQ 4 in Interpreting whilst training and working as a teacher; he qualified as RSLI when he was just 23.

Stephen's career as an interpreter started whilst working for what was the largest Deaf Organisation in the North West where he worked in their interpreting department for 6 ½ years and was responsible for the supervision and mentoring of their in-house interpreting team. After becoming freelance, Stephen has worked with a range of organisations to establish and deliver mentorship programs and training for in-house interpreters. He has now developed a range of CPD courses and in early 2013 he became a qualified assessor after completing the Teaching and Quality Assurance Certificate in Assessing Vocational Achievement (TAQC) at The City of Liverpool College. Stephen is now training to become an Internal Quality Assurer and is due to qualify in 2019. Stephen is also a Spanish > English Translator and has experience of working across a number of domains and corporate clients. 

Stephen is now the lead tutor on the NVQ 6 Diploma in BSL-English Interpreting programmes and is responsible for coordinating the team of assessors and for curriculum management to ensure that the students we support through the qualification at the centre are sucessful. 

In addition to interpreting and training, he has also been a regional rep for ASLI; he was one of the co-founders of the Janus Project; and he has also been a presenter at the ASLI conference, which he remembers as a "fantastic experience". Outside of work, Stephen loves to read and doesn't go anywhere without his tablet; however he also has three young children and can often be found being 'forced' to watch cartoons!

Course Leader, Assessor & Teacher
Pat Sands
RSLI, A1 Assessor, Internal Quality Assurer and External Quality Assurer

Pat is a Registered Sign Language Interpreter from Mansfield. Since she qualified as an interpreter Pat has worked as a teacher, A1 Assessor and internal and external quality assurer (IV/EV) for both the BSL and interpreting awards. 

Pat completed her interpreting training at Leeds university gaining her PGDip in 2004 at the same time as completing a degree in Law!

Outside of work she is very creative sewing, crafting and spinning her own yarn!

From reading the above, you can see that we are honoured and lucky to have her as part of our training and assessment team.

Internal Quality Assurer
Hannah Wilson
Qualified Interpreter, Teacher and A1 Assessor

Hannah is a qualified A1 Assessor and has had extensive expereince of assessng on the NVQ 6 Diploma in BSL -Englsih interpreting course. Hannah has taught on the BSL degree programme and IBSL Level 6 Interpreting qualification.

Hannah completed her PGCE in 2016 and in now also a qualified teacher. 

Hannah is a valued member of the team with her understading of the qualification and assessment processes she makes an excellent assessor. In addition to assessing Hannah also has 2 young children and loves outdoor persuits!

Assessor & Teacher
Gemma Carver
PGDip, RSLI, MVLP, TQAC Qualified Interpreter, Assessor 

Gemma has always had a passion for British Sign Language and was encouraged to pursue a career in Interpreting by her Grandparents who are profoundly Deaf. She graduated with a Post-Graduate Diploma in British Sign Language and English Interpreting at the University of Central Lancashire in 2014.

Gemma began her career within the Deaf community in 2010 supporting Deaf students in educational settings. She later found an interest and thrived on the challenges she met in mental health when she supported Deaf patients on a Forensic Unit in Manchester.

Since completing her Post-Graduate Diploma, Gemma has worked as a freelance BSL interpreter undertaking a variety of interpreting assignments within the community and specialized in interpreting in mental health settings. She recently completed her CAVA (assessing) qualification which enables her to assess and support students on their journey to becoming a RSLI.

In her spare time, Gemma enjoys binge-watching box sets, drinking tea and eating cake!!!

Louise Critchley
BA (Hons) TQAC Qualified Interpreter, Assessor

Louise completed a BA Honours in English Language Studies at the University of Central Lancashire and graduated in 2000. From that point she began learning British Sign Language and it became her passion.

Louise began her career within the deaf community in 2002 working at a local deaf centre as a member of the reception staff. She then progressed and undertook a wide variety of roles within the local deaf communities of Warrington, Cheshire and Salford. These roles included outreach support work with deaf and deaf blind people, careers and employment advice, internal communication support and she then moved on to interpreting. Louise completed her Level 6 diploma in BSL interpreting in 2012 through Sign Solutions. Louise now works as a freelance BSL interpreter and she says that she absolutely adores her job.

Louise is currently training as an assessor and is expected to qualify in early 2019.

Outside of work Louise has two young children who keep her extremely busy, a caravan based in North Wales she escapes to as often as possible. To relax Louise says she enjoys reading and drawing.

Liz Smith
(MSc Hons) TSLI

Liz was drawn to learning British Sign Language, after using Baby Sign from Talk First with both her children and seeing the difference clear communication made to their lives, before they were able to communicate verbally. 

Liz formally commenced learning British Sign Language in October 2014 after taking the opportunity of redundancy from her Leadership role at Royal and Sun Alliance Insurance as she was looking for a career change.  Liz continued through the Signature training whilst raising her 2 young children, completing Level 6 in August 2017 and commenced Interpreter training in October 2017. 

Liz returned to Royal and Sun Alliance in September 2017 and is now completing her studies towards RSLI alongside her role as a Resource Optimisation Analyst and centre administrator for BSL Interpretations Training. 

Outside of work, Liz can be found at AEGIS Martial Arts Centre in Hebden Bridge, where she is a Black Belt and Instructor and provides BSL interpretation for students and parents within the academy.  Liz has recently taken up Jiu Jitsu to compliment her Instructor role and loves to swim.

Centre Administrator
Paula Formston
GDip, RSLI, TQAC, MVLP, Interpreter, Assessor

Paula is a CODA whose first language is BSL, she has grown up in the Liverpool Deaf Community and developed a passion for working in the Deaf Community, particularly enjoying working with older deaf people due to their use of Fingerspelling and register of BSL.

Paula completed a Graduate Diploma in BSL/ English Interpreting in 2004 at the University of Central Lancashire and qualified an interpreter in 2007, finishing her journey via the NVQ route. She has worked as both an In-house interpreter and freelance interpreter, working across a variety of domains but has a particular interest in Children's Services.  

Paula completed her Assessing Qualification in 2018 and this has allowed her to work with and support students in with their studies which is a challenge she enjoys.

Paula is married with 3 children; she enjoys walking and reading but can often be found spending long evenings chauffeuring her children to and from places!