It enabled the retention of a highly skilled workforce at BAE Systems' Clydeside operations and supported in excess of 4000 jobs across Scotland throughout the build programme.
More than 500 modern apprentices and graduates have been trained on the Clyde throughout the lifetime of the order, thereby ensuring that the lifeblood of this strategic industry is maintained for future generations.
It is estimated that for every person employed directly in the yards that another half a job is supported elsewhere in Scotland.
For every £1 spent on wages by BAE Systems it generates approximately 44p of supplier expenditure.
Based upon this estimate, the company's £80m wage bill generates £35.2m of expenditure at Scottish suppliers.
This is a huge contribution to the Scottish economy and is replicated in other shipbuilding communities in the UK.
It is important, in particular for manufacturing business, that there is a strong relationship between workforce and management.
Throughout the Type 45 programme, workforce and management agreed on what were the key challenges facing the business and then went about figuring out how – by working together – those challenges could be recognised and overcome in order for the project to succeed.
Shipbuilding has always had to invest in skills and equipment to improve competitiveness and to improve the products themselves.
Most important of all has been the investment in the skills and talents of the workforce.
The industry will need to invest more in research and development as well as skills training within the industry, invest more and to continue to nourish skills and apprenticeships if we are to retain the capability to compete in a challenging market place.
IN many cases throughout the lifetime of the T45 contract the unions and the workforce have been ahead of management.
There have been times when the unions have had to persuade management to initiate change and equally to persuade politicians of the need to invest in the shipbuilding workforce and community.
This will never change. If the trade unions have learned nothing else we have understood that you have to fight, you have to make the case for this industry.
Together, the unions, management and politicians have to work to emphasise why a strong shipbuilding industry is vitally important to this island nation, explaining the contribution this core industry delivers in terms of product, skills and job opportunities, not only within the shipyards themselves but throughout the supply chain.
Support for shipbuilding in particular and manufacturing in general is vital if the economy is to be rebalanced and to remove the over reliance on the fragile finance sector.
Shipbuilding matters because it provides quality, skilled employment. It matters because it offers opportunities for learning skills on the job. It matters because it contributes to the wider economic well-being of families, communities and the country as a whole.
The Type 45 has been important to the Clyde, it has pushed construction techniques to new levels. The aircraft carrier programme likewise has revolutionised the way in which we construct ships.
The challenge for the shipbuilding industry now is to secure the future orders of the Type 26 frigate and in so doing secure a future for the workforce and their families into the next decade.
The shipbuilding community demand, deserve and have earned the right to a secure future, the right to work."
THE last of the Type 45 destroyers leaves Glasgow later this week. As part of a week-long series looking at the value, history and people involved in the development and building of the world's most advanced warships, HUGH SCULLION, left,
General Secretary of the Confederation of
Shipbuilding and Engineering Unions, shares his views with Gordon Thomson