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Board Profiles

Meet the NASMA Board


Stephen McCartney, NASMA Chair

StephenCurrently I work as the Head of Student Services within the Northern Regional College in Northern Ireland.

The Northern Regional College is one of six regional colleges in Northern Ireland and is mainly a Further Education College with Higher Education provision.

As well as managing the Student Finance Team, I also have responsibility for Careers, Education Support, Safeguarding, Student Counselling, Pastoral care, Libraries and the Student Union. Basically everything that no-one else wants.

I qualified as a teacher and have worked in both the primary and secondary sectors. I also currently work as a part time lecturer, specialising in the whole area of disability.

So while I don’t consider myself to be an expert in student funding, my knowledge has grown over the years with all the changes that have occurred, and I am fairly clued in to what is happening on the ground for students, and also at a strategic level with our local Department for the Economy.

Over the past number of years I have been the Northern Ireland Policy Rep and I thoroughly enjoyed working with others from across the Nations. As far as I know, I am the first Northern Ireland and also the first FE member to be chair of NASMA.  I am keen to encourage more members to join NASMA from both the HE and FE sectors right across the country, and linking appropriately with other organisations with similar aims and objectives.

In my spare time, I have a never ending love affair with my garden. Keeping it looking good, and then relaxing in it, with a glass of wine, watching it grow again!


Vice-Chair Governance & Operations, Beryl Dixon - profile to follow


Vice-Chair Communications, Stephen McCartney (Acting)


Vice-Chair Training & Development, Gretta Gavin - profile to follow

Sophie Taylor, Vice-Chair Finance

SophieI have worked within welfare and funding in education for over nine years and currently work as the Student Budget Counsellor at University College Birmingham, dealing with both further and higher education students.  I provide advice and guidance on all money matters and manage a range of funds for students facing financial difficulty.  I am currently the point of contact for independent and estranged students and I’m responsible for developing an entry offer that meets their needs.    

I’m entering my second year on the NASMA board, and having held the FE Liaison role previously I am moving into the Vice-Chair Finance role in which I’ll be responsible for NASMA’s financial commitments.  With a strong background in financial reporting I am analytical and accurate in my approach and I am committed to making a success of the role as well as contributing to the wider decision making of the board.  

Having recently graduated with a first class BA (Hons) Social Welfare Law, Policy and Advice Practice I now have more time to commit to board activities and I’m keen to play a key part in shaping the future of NASMA moving forward. 

Out of work my time is taken up renovating my new house, enjoying holidays in the sun and gardening as I have a passion for all things flowery!  


Northern Ireland Policy, Alison Young

I have been in my role as Student support Officer for the past two and half years.  The College I work in is a small rural college, which supports the agri food industry within Northern Ireland.  It provides both further and higher education programmes.  My role covers all three of our campuses and is unique in that each campus has a very different student demographic and each comes with their own set of challenges.

A significant part of my role involves advising students about financial matters, such as student loans, benefits and financial hardship issues.  I co-ordinate the college’s Hardship fund and would run financial planning workshops throughout the year for students. I am a relative newcomer to the world of student finance and am keen to enhance my knowledge in all aspects of financial student support.  I am looking forward to sitting on the NASMA board and getting the chance to enhance my professional knowledge.


Beryl Dixon, Wales Policy

BerylI have worked in the advice sector for over 16 years and have been at Glyndwr University working with students for the last 11 years. I am currently the manager of the Student Funding and Welfare Team and I have recently joined the Board of National Association of Student Money Advisers (NASMA) as Welsh Policy Rep.

At Glyndwr University I manage a small team of people who work primarily with home and EU prospective and current students to inform and assist in applying for their statutory student funding and I also help on a variety of welfare issues including accommodation and money management.

My role within the team centres around IAG on Statutory Student Funding, especially if a student has issues, the responsibility for the distribution of all discretionary student funds including the university hardship fund, Financial Literacy and acting as the main point of contact and mentor for students accessing the University’s Care Leaver Scheme.

Outside of work my main priority is my ever growing family of four children with partners and six (soon to be seven) grandchildren. If I have a spare moment I love to read mainly historical novels and holiday in the sun.

Jude Cringle, England Policy

 I am an experienced Student Welfare Adviser and have been at Middlesex  University since 2001.  Before that I spent three and a half years as a Student Adviser at Newham College FE.  In my current role I provide specialist and confidential advice on a range of topics including student financial support, money management, social security benefits, tax credits, childcare, housing, basic immigration law and general welfare.  The advice is delivered through one-to-one casework, student workshops and targeted events.  

In my role as NASMA England Policy I attend the DWP Operational Stakeholder Engagement Forums and the Improving Communications Group.  I have also attended the DSA Stakeholder Group.  I am a member of the Training and Development Committee and have assisted in finding venues, trainers and supported the NASMA Office during the annual conference.  In addition, I respond to student and policy queries received by the NASMA Office.

My wealth of experience in the sector has allowed me to develop my knowledge based skills as well as practical skills and I hope to bring these to the Board.

Kellie McAlonan, Scotland Policy 

KellieI have been working with students since 2006 when I was elected as a sabbatical officer at the University of Paisley Students Association, with a keen interest in students and their money. I made the move to working in the University of West Scotland’s Student Services Team in 2008, and now manage the Funding and Advice Team.

My role at UWS involves managing a team who advise prospective and current students on all things student funding, administer a range of discretionary and childcare funds and develop the financial capability strategy within the university. The team also deal with a variety of welfare issues, including housing, benefit entitlements and debts.

With a diverse student population across 5 campuses of UWS, I am passionate about services meeting the needs of all types of students. I work closely with our Widening Participation team to ensure prospective students are supported in their journey to and through UWS.

I am new to the NASMA Board but hope to ensure the Scottish voice is represented (despite originally being from Norther Ireland) and NASMA continues to develop strong relationships with stakeholders in Scotland.

Tim Dixon, Campaigns Co-ordinator

The campaigns that NASMA takes forward are vital to the work of the members that we represent. The campaigns that we deliver as an organisation should be timely, effective, and be a force for change and awareness. The campaigns committee that I will be working with will look to deliver campaigns that match the aims of the membership as well as the development of the association. As a campaigns group we will not be working in isolation from the membership, we will look to involve and include the views and support of all NASMA members in the work that we do. We will work with other committees within the association to develop stronger campaigns that enhance our members and the organisation. We will work with external organisations that are key to the campaigns that we are involved in.

As a the current campaigns coordinator I have worked with the Financial Capability and research committee since it began and I have also been the regional chair for London and the South East. I have worked with some truly great members over the years and I would like to invite all members that have an interest in the work that we do to get in touch. As a committee we are looking to ensure that we are able to deliver the best of what we can offer and along the way enhance the association and our own personal development needs. I’d love to hear from you if you want to know more or be a part of what we do.

Anita Bailey, Financial Capability Champion

Ani BaileyMy name is Ani, and in addition to my role on the NASMA Board as Fin Cap Champion, I am also the Chair of the Financial Capability and Research Working Group.  I am a Student Adviser at Ravensbourne in North Greenwich and have been in this role for over 4 years. My position is a dual role; as well as Finance Support and advice I am also responsible for our Accommodation Services. Over the past few years I have focused on collaborative working, extending resources based on student feedback and have developed projects to improve the services. I enjoy the challenge of working within a creative environment, supporting our diverse student community through money management, money campaigns, funding and advice work.

My role at NASMA has allowed me many opportunities to network with external organisations and to continue to build strong partnerships to benefit our members. This includes our ongoing work with the Money Advice Service as well as representing NASMA as part of the National Strategy for Financial Capability Steering group. We are in the process of planning for the next National Student Money Week and I enjoy working closely with the rest of the group.

 I love music, true crime podcasts, reading and writing short stories. 

FE Liaison, Sophie Taylor

SophieI have worked within welfare and funding in education for over nine years with previous roles being predominantly in FE colleges.  I currently work as the Student Budget Counsellor at University College Birmingham providing advice and guidance on all money matters and managing student support funds to ensure our students remain on programme and achieve.

With a strong background working in FE I recognise that there are challenging times ahead, in particular around funding cuts with government policy focusing more on apprenticeships rather than traditional college courses.  The aim of the FE Liaison role is to promote and develop a specific FE membership and I’m keen to build on the progress made last year in my first year in the role and build a network of knowledgeable advisers in the sector, considering things like specific training needs and sharing best practice.    



Last Updated: 18 August 2017