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Atkins thinks big and cuts UK regional staff

Atkins has axed 51 jobs in four UK offices as part of a strategy to move away from small projects, it was confirmed this week.

Designers and support staff working in the consultant's offices in Aberdeen, Cambridge, Nottingham and Winchester were victims of Atkins' focus on larger national projects.

""The markets in those regions aren't significant enough to warrant a presence from this part of our design business," said an Atkins spokesman.

"This reflects a change of focus. They're looking to win work on a national rather than regional basis. It's all about winning the big contracts."

NCE understands that although roughly 20% of the staff accepted positions elsewhere in the company, most were made redundant.

"This isn't part of any major cuts strategy," said the spokesman.

"It's about winning the best contracts and servicing our clients in the best way we can. We still have 20 design offices around the country offering these services, and we're still growing the business in the UK."

Atkins has set up an office in Bangalore, India to work remotely on UK projects to help it cope with growth in this part of the business and to tackle the skills shortage.

Typically, new staff from India will spend their first six to 12 months with Atkins in the UK on student or temporary worker visas, learning the company's approach to work and understanding its culture.

They will also meet Atkins' UK engineers and representatives of the project clients they will be working for.

But Atkins insisted that its ongoing commitment to growing the business in India and outsourcing UK design work was "absolutely irrelevant" in terms of providing multidisciplinary design services in their UK offices.

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