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Solar Rig Helps Apprentices Shine

Thanks to a grant from the Rochester Bridge Trust, two plumbing and heating engineering students at MidKent College have learned to install the latest low-carbon technologies and have recently been recognised as among the best apprentices in the country.

Paul Hopper, of Swanscombe, and Richard Pettitt, of Rochester, have both gained national apprenticeship awards to mark their achievements as part of the Apprentice, Journeyman and Master Certificate Scheme led by the Construction Liveries Group in partnership with the Livery Companies Skills Council, City & Guilds, and other chartered institutes. The awards were presented by Alderman David Wootton, Lord Mayor of London, at Plaisterer’s Hall.

Paul and Richard are currently studying for NVQ Level 3 in Plumbing and Heating at MidKent College. They are among the college’s students who learned to install the latest low-carbon technologies thanks to the £2,500 grant from the Rochester Bridge Trust. The grant was used to buy a new solar rig and air source heat pump. The kit enabled the students to demonstrate the benefits of renewable energy at Eco Build, part of the 2011 WorldSkills International – formerly known as the Skills Olympics.

Paul and Richard were accompanied at the awards ceremony by Stuart Nice, Head of Construction and Building Services at MidKent College, who himself achieved Master Plumber accreditation last year. Mr Nice said, “The solar rig and air source heat pump have given our students the ability to acquire skills to install the most up-to-date technology in renewables.”

Paul has more than five years’ experience as a plumbing and heating engineer with Tolley and Littlewood Ltd, while Richard works for Southern Water as a Water Regulations Officer.


1. The Rochester Bridge Trust is a charitable trust that exists to maintain the old and new bridges at Rochester and serve the travelling public. It is the only surviving bridge trust still serving its original purpose, and it has served the people of Kent since 1399. The Trust also supports numerous community and education projects across historic Kent and Medway.

2. The Trust’s assets all derive from endowments of land and money in the 14th and 15th centuries and are carefully managed in order to provide an income to fund bridge maintenance and local charitable grants. The Trust receives no external funding and is regulated by the Charity Commission.

For more information:

The Rochester Bridge Trust
5 Esplanade
Kent ME1 1QE
Tel: 01634 846706
Fax: 01634 840125

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