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Working at PTE

Talented people come to Pollard Thomas Edwards from all sorts of places and backgrounds. Around 18 different languages are spoken, and we aim to maintain a 50:50 gender balance.

PTE enjoys high levels of staff retention – and a significant number of returnees. This is partly down to the work we do and how we do it, as well as the sociable working environment we promote at our beautiful canal-side studios. For example, there’s our Thursday lunch tradition, where we each take it in turn to cook lunch for the whole practice.

Our studio at Diespeker Wharf sits on the edge of the Regent’s Canal and is about five minutes’ walk from Angel, Islington. It is a local landmark, it enjoys one of the most tranquil locations on London’s canal network and it provides a great working environment. We acquired and converted the Victorian timber mill in the mid-90s and won a Civic Trust Commendation in 2000 for its restoration. Our garden is very important to us and it also wins prizes every year.

"Pollard Thomas Edwards creates beautifully designed and popular buildings, which also have to satisfy tough commercial and technical demands – we expect our work to compete with the very best of UK architecture. This takes a lot of hard work, talent and dedication – and the Partners understand that we all work at our best in a supportive and sociable environment. This page aims to give a flavour of what it is like to work at PTE."

Andrew Beharrell, Senior Partner, PTE

History

The practice was founded in 1974 by Roger Pollard, Bill Thomas and John Edwards.

From its start, PTE combined an unusual set of aims and attributes: a commitment to finding out what end users really want; challenging orthodox post-war modernism; an enthusiasm for complex and messy redundant sites and buildings and a belief that new buildings should be respectful to their surroundings.

All of these still inform the core values of the practice today, with its belief that good design, coupled with intelligent use of money and a commitment to social and environmental change, makes property development a force for good.

"I value my relationship with Pollard Thomas Edwards because I value London, and so do they. Like master tailors cherishing the fabric of the great city we share their work is elegant, elemental, economical, always cut and stitched with an assured élan, eschewing the flashy in favour of the fitting, predicated on the idea of getting the right solution to complex urban problems. And what’s more PTE makes homes, not statements or landmarks, but dwellings for Londoners, places for people and hubs for communities.

They also make working with them a pleasure. At their light and graceful canal-side home there is joy in the air and pride in the large map which graces the entrance. This shows the numerous schemes and projects PTE has contributed to our patchwork city, an impressive cluster of dots, each of them representing the PTE ethos at work. And they also know how to have fun. PTE parties are every bit as good as their buildings."

Robert Elms, Writer and broadcaster

How we work

With around 150 talented design and technical staff, we are able to handle a wide range of projects and to meet demanding programmes. We have a comprehensive infrastructure of support staff and systems. We value personal relationships with our clients very highly, and this is reflected in the fact that around 80% of our work is repeat business. All our projects receive attention at a senior level, and all of our Partners are actively involved with clients and projects.

As well as maintaining an active role on projects, Senior Partners Andrew Beharrell and Teresa Borsuk take an overview of our creative output, our business strategy and our service to clients.

Our service is provided by three Workshops: two are focused on concept and planning work and one on post-planning design delivery. All three are able to cover the full range of our residential and mixed-use work, and in addition they incorporate teams specialising in education projects and third age housing.

"The design process is inclusive and we are all encouraged to have an input. Everyone’s opinion is valid and listened to, and this applies to all aspects of the practice. Staff are encouraged to think about how we operate as a business and contribute towards PTE’s success on many levels."

Rebecca Lee, Architect, PTE

What to expect…

  • Personal & Professional Development
  • Mentoring
  • Continuing Professional Development (CPD)
  • Happy Hours

"The design process is inclusive and we are all encouraged to have an input. Everyone’s opinion is valid and listened to, and this applies to all aspects of the practice. Staff are encouraged to think about how we operate as a business and contribute towards PTE’s success on many levels."

Yeon Barrow, Senior Technician, PTE

Employment benefits

  • Enhanced Holidays
  • PTE Pension Contributions
  • Enhanced Maternity & Shared Parental Pay Policy
  • Discretionary Annual Bonus
  • Professional Memberships
  • Help Towards Professional Qualification
  • Workplace Childcare Salary Sacrifice Scheme
  • PTE Office Trip
  • Interest Free Season Ticket Loan

"I joined PTE in 1998, and in that time I have had two periods of maternity leave and agreed various part time and different working hours arrangements. PTE has been supportive, adaptable and accommodating, and I am now back working full time. I enjoy the fact that the projects in the office continue to be interesting and varied from regeneration to all sorts of housing projects and schools. Regardless of size, our projects always involve good communication and engagement, and PTE has always practised meaningful consultation with residents and stakeholders, always remembering that a ‘unit’ is someone’s home."

Sarah Eastham, Associate, PTE

Health and wellbeing benefits

  • Weekly Yoga
  • Cycle to Work Scheme
  • Wellbeing hub
  • Permanent Health Insurance & Life Assurance
  • Death in Service Benefit
  • Private Medical Health Insurance
  • Health Cash Plan
  • Free fruit daily

"I enjoy the working environment at PTE. Despite being a busy practice, it is not a stressful place nor do I feel the pressure of having to take work home at the end of the day. I enjoy coming into work because there is a healthy work life balance here. The office is in a fantastic location, right by the canal, with plenty of places to enjoy a good lunch."

Danny Ceurvels, Architect, PTE

Thursday Lunch

Every Thursday, one of us cooks lunch for the whole practice and any guests who happen to be in the office that day. Everyone takes their turn. It is a tradition that has been in place since PTE was established in 1974 – and has helped establish the legendary family atmosphere and collaborative environment.

"Very sociable atmosphere in a fun environment. We have ‘Happy Hour’ talks which are a fantastic opportunity to learn about what other staff members are doing - it’s great for personal development, and you learn about other projects within PTE. The Thursday lunches give everyone an opportunity to sit and chat to different people each week. I made 240 enchiladas for 150 people."

Anirudh Sood, Architectural Assistant, PTE

Social activities

PTE believes in working hard and playing hard! We encourage many social activities, eg:

  • Football
  • Softball
  • Yoga
  • Fun runs
  • Regular office drinks
  • Christmas party
  • Employee gallery space for exhibitions
  • Photography club
  • Summer BBQ party
  • Open City mentoring opportunities
  • London Festival of Architecture
  • London Open House
  • Office trip

"I like that PTE has a vibrant atmosphere, which encourages people from different workshops the opportunity to mix. There are various social activities to choose from which cater to a wide range of interests; whether it’s a traditional PTE event such as softball and the Annual Chicken Run or something completely new like the PTE choir! It’s a great place to learn with no pressure, but a lot of fun!"

Aiste Valeviciute, Architectural Technologist, PTE

Corporate social responsibly

PTE has an annual programme and budget for charitable works, ranging from local community schemes to international aid appeals. We recently worked with Water Aid and designed a game that is a fundraising and educational tool.

We have a commitment to youth projects, particularly in our own neighbourhood. We sponsor the London Lions Sports Foundation which offers a range of basketball clubs and competitions to benefit young people across London’s disadvantaged communities.

Our staff are mentors for Accelerate!, a scheme to support young people from hard-to-reach backgrounds into training and careers in architecture and the built environment. Several of these students come to our office for work experience over their school holidays. We also run Junior Open House workshops for children and teachers.

Affiliations

PTE is affiliated with a number of organisations and campaigns that regularly enable our people to participate and attend networking opportunities throughout the year.

"The gender balance determines the working culture and has a positive effect on employees. Women should not have to be put on a podium to influence colleagues and clients – at PTE they are valued without it being a big deal. Further, the more women you have in your practice, the more women you will attract: balance begets balance."

Teresa Borsuk, Senior Partner, PTE

Please see our careers page for current job vacancies. We are always on the look out for talent. If you would like to work for Pollard Thomas Edwards please get in touch at careers@ptea.co.uk

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