ON Thursday last week I was lucky enough to be invited to the newly renovated Fairfield Shipbuilding and Engineering office building in Govan for a celebration of the history of shipbuilding on the Clyde, co-hosted by the Fairfield Heritage Centre and the Royal Navy.

I joined Carol Monaghan MP, whose constituency includes the Scotstoun BAE yard, and Pat Cassidy – the man behind Govan Workspace and the Fairfield building’s new lease of life – and many others.

In Scotland we are incredibly proud of our shipbuilding expertise – both historical and current – but I would venture to say that none are more proud and knowledgeable than the people of Govan, particularly those whose families have lived there for generations.

Ships built in Scotland have travelled across the world, cargo boats, ocean liners, naval vessels, and Govan Fairfield was once at the very centre of the industry, it would be no exaggeration to say it was the best shipyard in the world.

More recently the Govan shipyards have been owned by BAE systems, working on naval contracts.

I was pleased to hear in May this year that BAE had decided to invest £100 million in the Govan and Scotstoun yards, showing continued confidence in the skilled workforce Glasgow has to offer.

Combine this with their new contract to build Type 26 Frigates and it’s clear that shipbuilding will continue to thrive in Govan.

History is an important part of any community’s identity, if you take away a people’s history you take away their roots.

The Fairfield Heritage Centre is vital to keeping alive the history of the Fairfield shipyard and its connection to Govan.

If you stand on Govan Road and look forward at the huge, majestic sandstone office building and then along the road at the looming red brick walls lined with barbed wire you can see how easily someone could walk along and have no idea of what history, what industry existed behind it.

The Fairfield Heritage Centre is a fantastic resource for tourists, local residents and schoolchildren to learn about shipbuilding in Govan, and for Govanites to relive the stories passed down to them by older generations.

However, the team behind Fairfield Heritage wanted to make the centre about more than just the past; up on the top floor, an incredibly transformation has taken place.

What was last used as offices by Fairfield engineers and draughtsmen is now the Govan Workspace – filled with contemporary feeling office spaces, incubation hubs and meeting rooms.

This space has not been leased to any old business, but was intended to introduce new and sustainable businesses to Govan.

Already they’ve got some great tech start-ups and social enterprises in renting space – the beginnings of a new age of innovation and modern industry for the area.

The idea is that business rooted in Govan will then stay in Govan.

Govan’s innovation and skilful workforce should not be spoken about as a thing of the past, with great initiatives like Govan Workspace it’s also very much part of its future.