Ellie McBrien (2013)

Ellie has dreamt of being an airline pilot for as long as she can remember. One of her favourite memories as a child was going up to the flight deck and watching pilots doing what she saw as ‘the best job in the world’. After leaving The Abbey, Ellie went on to study Aerospace Engineering at the University of Manchester. She ensured her university choice had an Air Squadron, allowing her to learn to fly on her days off alongside her degree, as well as providing the opportunities to develop key skills and meet like minded people.

During her first year at university, Ellie successfully applied for the British Airways Future Pilot Programme. During a 15 month period she lived on campus at Jerez de la Frontera International Airport. The course involved 62 weeks of training, including a mixture of ground school and flying training, working alongside commercial airlines.

Ellie explains that she is very grateful to The Abbey for being so supportive in the lead up to her British Airways selection: ‘I studied for my Private Pilots License exams in the summer of my AS Levels, and the school gave me time to revise for these. The careers team were also amazing, putting me in touch with the RAF as well as organizing a visit for Flight Lieutenant Julie Fell to come to the school and speak to me about flying.’

Soon, Ellie will join British Airways as a First Officer, flying passengers all over the UK, Europe, Middle East and North Africa. She would eventually like to fly long haul, with her dream being able to fly the Boeing 787.