VIDEO This sister is doing it for herself - DIY day turns hack into hands-on heroine

More and more women are living alone, according to recent statistics.

So if you don’t have a father, husband, brother or man-about-the-house to help with all those DIY chores, don’t sit snivelling in a corner – woman up and learn how to do them yourself.

Reporter Bev Creagh went to Barnfield College to see what’s on offer for the independent woman.

First up - bricklaying. OK, we’re not talking mansions here, more barbecues, patio walls and repairs.

Spend a day learning the tricks of the trade and hey presto – you could not only be impressing your friends with your new-found skills but also amusing them with the lingo.

“Buttering a brick” means slapping plaster on four surfaces before laying it. In a straight line, of course.

Brickwork tutor Carlton Hyde said: “We’ll teach you about mortar, bricks, foundations, structures and quantities. We’ll also introduce you to the various tools and show you how to look after them.”

But be warned – it’s not as easy as it looks. Carlton admitted: “It takes lots of practice.”

It could also come in useful if you wanted to tone up at the same time - each brick weighs a hefty 2kg, and wielding a trowel winkled out muscles I never knew I had.

Plastering is another skill that appears deceptively simple to the untrained eye.

Tutor Stephen Hyde’s father and grandfather were both in the trade. He said: “We like to think we know what we’re talking about but you never stop learning.

“Preparation is the key. We tell all our students ‘Fail to prepare and you’re preparing to fail.’”

There are huge extractor fans in the workshop to remove the very fine Class A casting plaster.

Anyway who enjoys cake making will feel at home swirling the soft plaster in vinny rubber moulds and shaking them to release air bubbles.

I created a very fetching ceiling rose, complete with strengthening hessian insert and a satisfyingly smooth finish.

You can also try your hand at woodwork and pick up some professional carpentry tips along the way.

These one day courses in bricklaying, plastering and carpentry cost £45 each.

Now I don’t know how much you know about your motor, but I’m ashamed to say mine was about two years old before I discovered how to open the bonnet.

So I’ll be at the front of the queue for the winter servicing course, also £45.

Engineering tutor Naomi Reilly runs through the important points – anti freeze, wipers, tyres – and throws in more advice: “Keep your battery charged.

“At this time of year it’s constantly being drained having the lights and heating on. So go for a good run at least a week, it will do a power of good.”

She’s a no-nonsense woman who calls a spanner a spanner. But she’s also got a wacky sense of humour that’s bound to lighten learning about anything mechanical.

In addition to these practical classes, Barnfield offers the independent woman a chance to better herself in the work place with a variety of computer courses - anything from a basic introduction to Windows 8 through to image manipulation using Photoshop CS6.

So what are you waiting for?

Time to get up and at ‘em – and prove your feminine ability in even the most masculine of areas.

> Watch a video of Bev in action at

> For more information call 01582 569569 or visit