AN international engineering and design firm with North-East offices has praised its UK division after revealing strong results.

WS Atkins, which has bases in Stockton and Newcastle, say it is confident after revenues lifted to £1.75bn.

The company, known for its work on UK railways and roads, saw underlying pre-tax profits rise seven per cent to £106.4m for the year to March 31.

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It also took on more apprentices and graduates to bolster its workforce.

The firm previously worked with London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic organisers to transform the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park into a visitor attraction and community park, and operates across markets in the UK, North America and the Middle-East.

A report said: “We have made significant progress and our UK and Europe region performed well.

“It was driven primarily by the UK, where we experienced good momentum in core markets and achieved particularly good volumes in the retained highways consultancy and rail businesses.

“We benefited from a contract gain share as a consequence of our M25 design project.

“The UK water and environment business had a busy first-half, with peak volumes associated with feasibility studies on phase one of the HS2 high speed rail project.

“We also welcomed 500 graduates across the group and accelerated our apprentice programme to attract school leavers, recruiting more than 90 apprentices in the UK.”