Ilan was born deaf and originally from London. At the start of his career, he was a computer programmer for several years before changing career and becoming a freelance actor, working on stage and TV, in the 1990s and 2000s. He seldom acts these days but has been employed by the University of Reading since 2011, working within the BA Theatre Arts Education and Deaf Studies [TAEDS] degree programme for Institute of Education (IoE) until the closure of the TAEDS degree programme in 2018. He focused on the signed theatre monologues, deaf studies, drama education for pupils with Special Needs.

In parallel with acting, he has been teaching for just over 2 decades, initially drama, before for a short spell teaching mathematics at a Special Needs school in Birmingham. At around the same time, he began teaching BSL, in conjunction with Linguistics, Deaf Awareness, History, Culture and Politics at various training centres in the UK.

Following the demise of the BA TAEDS course, Ilan started working with the Department of Languages and Culture (DLC) and playing a key part in the creation and development of the new BSL stages 1,2 & 3 as an optional module for any degree at the University of Reading. He continues at IoE lecturing on ‘Inclusion within education’ and ‘Education of deaf children’

Having graduated with BSc Mathematics in 1988, he then obtained a PGCE in 2013. Currently, he is a part-time PhD student looking at the Employability of Deaf adults; and separately is part of the Leverhulme-funded research project looking at Assistive Technology supporting deaf, dyslexic and ESOL students.