The company said the second barge will soon be completed, whilst works on the next two barges are advanced.

The company said that work on the project has supported them in ramping up workforce numbers and advancing vital shipyard skills which will be required for the recently awarded £1.6 billion Fleet Solid Support warship programme, of which Harland & Wolff will be responsible for delivering works worth around £700 million to £800 million.

It will last seven years and will commence in 2023, and is expected to bring long term employment and opportunities until 2031.

John Wood, group chief executive of Harland & Wolff, said: “It is fantastic to walk round the fabrication halls in Belfast and see them being a hive of activity, with our apprentices putting into practice the skills they have learned from our experienced workforce.

It has been fascinating to watch the adoption of new technology with our twin headed robotic welding line delivering production improvements by a magnitude of four to six times against conventional production and welding methods. I am very encouraged with the progress being made and it is the perfect stepping stone towards full scale shipbuilding.”