THERE has been much said and many column inches written about Ferguson Marine, the Glen Sannox and Hull 802.

The continuing delays and overspend cast a long shadow over what will be two magnificent ships.

No one can deny it’s taken too long and cost too much to get to this stage and the blame game has been used by many.

Management teams have come and gone, politicians too, and at times the progress has been at a snail’s pace.

It is understandable why negativity has been heaped on this project but if you look beyond that and consider where we are and what the future could hold then there is room for optimism.

Unlike the overspend of £4bn on the Elizabeth Line in the London Underground or the Ajax tanks that cost £5.5bn and has produced no tanks or the or the two aircraft carriers that ran four billion pounds over budget and has resulted in the HMS Prince of Wales being stripped of parts to service the HMS Queen Elizabeth, the two troublesome ferries will leave a positive legacy.

Ferguson Marine employ 249 people from the Inverclyde area.

READ MORE: Ferguson Marine reaches milestone as bridge is lifted on to Hull 802

That is 249 families benefitting financially in these very difficult times. There are currently 55 apprentices being put through their paces and working towards their qualifications.

Part of the problem was always the ageing workforce and the loss of experience from those that had already retired and never had the opportunity to pass on their knowledge and skills because apprenticeships were no longer fashionable.

But we are over that and Ferguson Marine is developing a skilled workforce. Had the two ferries that were built in Turkey been awarded to Ferguson's it would have been too much too soon and could have broken the yard.

Over the next twelve months the Glen Sannox will become operational and Hull 802 will follow.

The question then will be, do we have a viable yard to compete domestically and internationally for other contracts and the answer has to be yes.

We now have the right management team and workforce, it may need trimmed but its future is bright.

The yard will need to continue to evolve and that will take more investment but the returns for the area are almost immeasurable.

Conversely, if Ferguson's closes, the knock-on effect would be detrimental for their supply chain and devastating to the local community.

Everybody knows that the CalMac fleet needs replacing and the order for seven new ferries could be crucial for Ferguson's but beyond that there is work for BAE and other yards.

After a lot of the criticism that has unfairly been lobbed in the direction of the current management team and workforce it’s the least they deserve.