WOOD has won a contract to work on a £1 billion programme to transform schools and colleges across England from the Department for Education (DfE).

The Aberdeen-based firm, which has a big North Sea oil services business, said it has been awarded a technical advisor role with the department as part of a transformative, ten-year construction programme.

It said the School Rebuilding Programme will target school and sixth form college buildings most in need of refurbishment and improvement in conditions, with 100 identified so far.

The value of the contract has not been disclosed.

However, it appear to represent a coup for Wood as the company looks to reduce its reliance on the oil services business in which it made its name.

Under the leadership of chief executive Robin Watson the group has gained exposure to a wider range of markets including renewable energy and environment engineering. The £2.2 billion acquisition of Amec Foster Wheeler in 2017 helped the group accelerate the diversification drive.

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In a recent interview with The Herald, Mr Watson said Wood saw lots of opportunities in markets such as hydrogen amid the energy transition but had no plans to quit the North Sea oil services business. He said he expected oil and gas to remain an important part of the energy mix “over the next decade, if not generation”.

Regarding the School Rebuilding Programme contract win, Wood said a multidisciplinary group team will support the DfE across the full project life cycle. This will involve it providing consultancy services, including architecture and building services design, sustainability services, project and contract management, and clerk of works.

The Wood team will work with property and construction consultancy Rider Levett Bucknall on the programme. Wood said: “Modern methods of construction will be utilised to create energy-efficient buildings and infrastructure to reduce carbon footprint and help meet net-zero targets.”

The contract has been won by Wood’s Energy, Optimisation and Innovation team.

Wood recently launched a review of its built environment business, which it said could result in that unit being sold.

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Regarding the potential impact of the review on work for the DfE, a spokesperson for Wood said: “Our focus remains on delivering our current commitments successfully and our partnerships remain enduring irrespective of how the review unfolds.”