At Randall Thorp, we believe that nurturing and developing talent is more than simply picking the best applicants and putting them to work. We continuously seek to create a supportive, positive and rewarding work environment, that gives our graduate team members the greatest breadth of experience across every aspect of their profession and, we believe, the support, mentorship, and training they need to build a richly rewarding career in landscape architecture.
Lara Neathey and Zoe Nosworthy are two of our most recent landscape Graduates, who joined us last year after graduating with master's degrees in Landscape Architecture (MLA) from the University of Sheffield. Zoe chose to study at Sheffield after completing her A Levels, and Lara after completing an Art Foundation Course. Both graduates completed their four-year master's degree, including a placement, before starting their careers at Randall Thorp in 2022.
We asked them a little bit about their experience so far:
How did you find out about Randall Thorp?
Lara: Dick Longdin had given a lecture during my university course, but it wasn’t until I was looking for jobs in landscape architecture, and a recruiter suggested Randall Thorp, that I made the connection. After a little research on Randall Thorp and its projects, I felt it was ideally suited for me and I applied for the role.
Zoe: I was searching the internet for job opportunities when I saw Randall Thorp’s vacancy online, and clicked through to the website, and recognised the company name and Dick from his university lecture a few years before.
What aspects of working at Randall Thorp do you like the best?
Lara: The team spirit here at Randall Thorp is really strong.The collaborative culture in the studio is matched by a busy social and cultural life outside, with regular social events and activities. I’ve been fortunate to be able to flex my design and creative muscles on a bespoke play area design, and being involved at every point in the project’s life-cycle has been fascinating and rewarding. Although it’s a busy studio, explanations and help are always just one question away.
Zoe: Perhaps the thing I like most about working at Randall Thorp is the variety of projects I have been involved with and the feeling of learning all the time. From playing a very small part in a much larger project to making significant contributions to smaller ones, I feel that I’m already trusted to manage my own workload, and know when to ask for advice. The bespoke play area design has been a fantastic opportunity to learn how a whole project comes together, from conception to delivery, and I learnt a lot through researching and iterating the design process with partners and stakeholders. Being involved in the creative design process at the very beginning was a fantastic and enjoyable experience, and continuing working has meant learning about the whole journey it needs to take from conception to delivery.
How has Randall Thorp supported your professional growth and development in landscape architecture?
Lara: The studio is a tremendously supportive environment. I’ve noticed that all the partners and senior members give rigorous briefs, so we always know exactly what we’re doing, and importantly, why we’re doing it; so we get a fuller understanding of the whole project, including the context and background. There’s also a steady flow of links, documents and articles from colleagues who take the time to sift out and contextualise significant trends in landscape architecture, case studies, and news. This commitment to raising everyone’s knowledge and understanding is really effective.
Zoe: After only 3 months at Randall Thorp, I feel like I have the whole studio to help me. Everyone is very approachable, regardless of their position or role, and there’s always someone who you can ask for advice and guidance. Everyone in the studio shares links to webinars and CPD presentations of interest, and we’re encouraged to go to network events and expand our professional network too. Randall Thorp even has a graphics user group for upskilling and learning more about all the graphics software, which is a fantastic resource to have in-house. There’s also a great mix of work, from individual research to being part of a much larger team.
How have you found moving to Manchester, and what is your work/life balance like?
Lara: Manchester is a very lively city, and there’s always something going on day or night. Finding a place to live was straightforward, and getting to work is made easy by a great public transport system. Randall Thorp offers flexi-time and work benefits to make it easier to find your work/life balance. I’ve really enjoyed moving to Manchester, and there’s much to explore and see.
Zoe: Moving from South Lincolnshire to Manchester was quite a contrast, and it has taken a little getting used to, but as Lara says, the city is incredibly vibrant and busy, and it’s very easy to get around. Ancoats, where the studio is, is a fantastic area, and we’re surrounded by inspiration and historic architecture and design wherever we look.
What advice would you give fellow graduates looking for their first position?
Lara: Look for a company that cherishes your development rather than directing you to a single specialism. There’s a feeling of engagement with the projects at a personal level here, by everyone involved, and I’ve enjoyed a breadth of experience I don’t think many other studios could have provided in such a short space of time. If I had to choose again, those are the qualities I would look for in a graduate employer.
Zoe: It all depends on what you want from your career. If you’re passionate about landscape architecture and the positive contribution it has to make, then look for a studio that demonstrates a dedication to the things you believe in. Do your research, and find a studio where you will be stretched from the outset, expanding your skillset and developing your expertise across a broad range of projects.
If you would like to join the Randall Thorp team, working in our modern Manchester studio, we are seeking applicants for roles starting in Summer 2023 and onwards. Please send your CV and a covering letter to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.