Shipyard boss John Syvret has acknowledged the “world class” quality of his workforce following completion of the first year of a special contract with the Royal Fleet Auxiliary.

Three major refits have been completed at Cammell Laird in the last 12 months as part of a “cluster” contract with the RFA. The work was valued at £41m and provided work for 200 people.

The company is well under way with its biggest refit to date for the RFA – the year-long overhaul of RFA Fort Victoria in Birkenhead, which is employing 200 workers plus sub contractors.

Mr Syvret, chief executive officer at the shipyard, said the first anniversary of the contract marked “a period of significant progress.”

He emphasised that the RFA contract played a key role in the company’s rapid growth in the commercial marine, offshore win and civil nuclear markets.

He commented: “The ‘cluster’ agreement is Cammell Laird’s biggest single contract and is enabling the company to invest in our world class facilities and workforce.

“We have spent more than £35m on training. We now have one of the biggest apprenticeship programmes in the British maritime sector with 115 talented young people either in training or who have graduated into the company.”

Mr Syvret added: “I would like to emphasise the breadth and calibre of engineering work being undertaken for the RFA. This is a complex and hugely demanding contract and it showcases the exceptional expertise, skills and facilities we have at Cammell Laird.”

Work began in summer last year on the second period of Cammell Laird’s cluster contract to maintain nine of the 13 ships in the RFA flotilla. The cluster contract was first awarded to the shipyard in 2008; then in 2013 following reviews of performance and value for money.

The contract was extended for a further five years to 2018.

Cammell Laird managing director Linton Roberts said that over the past year the company had undertaken 14 assisted maintenance operations as part of the “global reach” element of the RFA contract involving seven ships in the UK, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, South Africa, the Caribbean and the United States.

In addition the company provided more than 1170 “spares requests” in the last year and 195 design support tasks worth £2.1m; bringing the total number of design tasks to 1,524 since 2008 at a value of £10.2m.