When our students and teachers said goodbye to the easyJet crew after their flight home from the recent Classics trip to Italy they were delighted to discover that their pilot was no other than Anna Morgan, a Bold Girl who left Burgess Hill Girls only five years ago! We had to catch-up with and find out more about her journey since leaving us.
So what have you been up to?
After Sixth Form, I went to Bristol University to study dentistry. I realised during my first year that teeth were not for me (!). But while I was at Bristol I joined the University Air Squadron and found my passion – flying! I realised I wanted to be a commercial pilot; I applied to the easyJet Generation Scheme through their training company CAE and was successful. I started with CAE a year later, in September 2019.
But then COVID came along in 2020 and it derailed aviation for a while. The future for new pilots was very unclear so I thought I should probably get a plan B – embarking on a degree in Accounting and Finance at Sussex University. I completed 2 years and then did my third year alongside my pilot studies, graduating in 2023. That third year was a real challenge and I felt like I was spinning so many plates at a time, but it was worth it to have a valuable alternative qualification in the bag.
We see you have been already nominated for an easyJet spirit award. What’s that?
It’s an internal awards ceremony. My award is for displaying calmness and a cool head during the early stages of a training flight in which the aircraft we were operating displayed a technical fault and so I was nominated for the award by the Captain for the ways I suggested the event should be overcome. We are all trained to the highest standards and I have to say the Captain was brilliant in how he dealt with it.
Have you done any other jobs since leaving Burgess Hill Girls?
I worked during the holidays at a local wedding venue on the catering side to earn extra money – hard work, but good fun and so rewarding to see people happy on the best day of their lives.
I did LAMDA (speech and drama) all through my school years and in the Sixth Form my LAMDA teacher asked if I would help her out working with some of the younger children at a different school. I loved working with the children and LAMDA is such a good thing to do: it really develops communication skills and confidence so I would recommend it to everyone, particularly as when I was younger I was quite shy. I enjoyed working with the children so much that I carried on doing it until I went to the USA for part of my flight training in 2022.
What else do you do outside of work?
Now I have completed my flying training and my degree it is amazing to actually have some spare time on my hands! It is great to catch up with friends I haven’t seen for ages, also I’ve started playing the piano for fun (after doing my grades at Burgess Hill Girls) and I am trying to get better at longboarding by skating down my road every day. Also I fancy learning to crochet my own clothes!
I also do a fair amount of volunteering which started when I was at Burgess Hill Girls. My Sixth Form tutor suggested volunteering would be a good idea to give something back to the community whilst also being good for our CVs. I started working at a local NHS rehabilitation centre in 2017 and I am still volunteering there now. This usually involves helping out at meal times or chatting to patients that don’t have visitors.
Also, I recently became a magistrate. Magistrates work in the criminal courts and are like a mini jury. My mum is one herself and I went to observe a court session and I found the day absolutely fascinating. I have just finished my training actually and am due to have my first court sitting this month. The magistrate service is keen to recruit young people, so I would recommend it to any girls 18 and over that are interested. You don’t need a degree or any legal background to be a magistrate. Anyone 14 and over can observe a day in the criminal court.
Both of my volunteering roles are very different but I am learning so much from them and it is very fulfilling to give back to the community in two very different ways. They add a different dimension to my life and I have been able to discuss the experiences in many university/job interviews that I have had since leaving school.
How did Burgess Hill Girls help you get to where you are now do you think?
Burgess Hill Girls is such a nurturing school, I got very individual attention and I don’t think I would have achieved the academic results I did without this; it is not a school where one size fits all. I arrived a shy girl and left as a confident young lady ready to tackle the world. Burgess Hill Girls not only helped me to be academically successful but also offered me opportunities to develop other valuable skills that I have used as a stepping stone to get where I am now.
How did you manage to bump into students and teachers recently?
I had just landed back into Gatwick from Naples and usually I like to hop out of the flight deck to say goodbye to passengers if I can. I saw Mrs Cassim, my year 10 form tutor, and couldn’t believe it! She was bringing pupils back from the same trip I had been on when I was at Burgess Hill Girls; those that came with me will remember the hailstones the size of golf balls at the top of Vesuvius! It was so lovely to see her and an amazing coincidence that I flew the school trip home.
What’s next for you?
I’m still a very new pilot at easyJet, so I have got my first simulator check to concentrate on. Longer term, I would like to become a Captain and also get involved in pilot recruitment, particularly inspiring girls to get into aviation. It really is the dream job!
Do you have a message for current pupils?
Seize all the opportunities offered to you, even if you feel nervous or reluctant to take them at the time. They can really shape your life, CV and future options. Also, it is ok to take a u-turn in life – look at me with leaving dentistry, I wouldn’t have discovered the University Air Squadron and my passion if I hadn’t started that course at Bristol. Life can take a winding road and that is ok, enjoy the ride!