Talented Alfie Maitland, nine, is so good at home improvements he can tackle with aplomb jobs that would leave your average DIY-er stumped.
The Cramond Primary pupil has now been heralded “one of the most talented DIY-ers ever” by tutors desperate to keep up with him at the weekly DIY classes he attends. His precocious skills have placed him in high demand with neighbours and family friends looking to finally have those long-standing odd jobs tackled.
And delighted mum Angela said she’s pleased to have someone so handy at whittling together flat-pack furniture – as company director hubby Les, 40, “is a bit rubbish”.
Alfie, who attends Kids Can Do It workshops at the Hermiston Gait B&Q store in blue overalls with older sister Callie, 11, can now complete his projects without any instruction and has his eyes set on the ultimate man project of all – building his own shed.
He said: “I love going to the workshops each week, everyone in the store knows me now and they all say ‘hello’. The workshops are great fun. I really enjoy all the drilling and sawing, I save up all my pocket money to buy tools and recently bought a power performance drill. One day I’d like to build a shed in the back garden to keep all my tools in.”
The workshops the Cramond lad attends could prove vital in plugging a skills gap as a recent survey found that just one in five of people born after 1975 know how to tile floors or walls, compared with 58 per cent of over-50s. And only a third of people under the age of 35 can hang wallpaper, against 56 per cent among their parents’ or grandparents’ generation.
Alfie, who would like to be a joiner when he grows up, has used what he’s learned to invent a ‘chable’, a collapsible chair which converts into a table.
RBS bank worker mum Angela, 38, said: “He loves building stuff now. My husband is a bit rubbish at tackling the DIY jobs around the house but Alfie now gets stuck in. It all began when his uncle Robert in Aberdeenshire built his own house and soon after Alfie began looking to take on his own projects. If I need a shelf putting up, I ask Alfie to do it.”
She added: “He’s made up a number of business cards which he hands out around the area which read ‘You buy I build’, as a result he’s recently finished putting a desk together for one of the neighbours.
“During the recent heatwave he also built a bar on wheels and went around the neighbourhood selling water to raise funds for a new playground at school.”
Jacqueline Caston, of B&Q, is delighted at the incredible skills Alfie has picked up. She said: “Alfie may be in a league of his own but we’re thrilled with the number of children we have skilled in DIY since the launch of our classes.”
What’s it all about, alfie?
We put young Alfie to the test to prove his do-it-yourself skills and the primary pupil passed with flying colours. The nine-year old turned up in his trusty blue overalls with authentic paint stains and carrying his own fully-stocked toolbox immediately proving his handyman credentials.
Then, under the watchful gaze of mum Angela and sister Callie, he wasted no time in setting about assembling a single bedside unit. Without any assistance and with only a few cursory glances at the instructions he completed the task with his own trusty battery drill in just under 15 minutes.