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The "Do-It-For-Me" Generation: Many Young Adults Unable to Carry Out Basic DIY Tasks

- One in six 18-24 year olds unable to change a light bulb

WALSALL, UNITED KINGDOM -- (Marketwire) -- 11/16/12 -- As young adults in the UK spend ever longer living at home with mum and dad, large numbers of them are unable to take the 'do-it-yourself' approach to fixing issues in the home, and are becoming the generation of 'do-it-for-me'. New research from HomeServe, Britain's leading home emergency and home insurance provider, reveals that many young Britons are unable to perform basic tasks like rewiring a plug or bleeding a radiator.

The study, which looked to examine the situations that UK adults felt would necessitate calling out a tradesman, found that two-thirds (66%) of 18-24 year olds didn't know how to rewire a plug, 63% couldn't bleed a radiator, and 59% wouldn't be able to clear a blocked gutter. Most startlingly of all, one in six (16%) did not even know how to change a light bulb.

Worryingly, the results illustrate that a majority of young people would be ill-equipped to cope in a range of home emergency situations - 57% didn't know what to do in order to help clear a blocked drain, while more than two-thirds (68%) would not know how to turn off their water supply in the event that a pipe burst, an essential step to minimising damage while waiting for a professional to arrive.

HomeServe Memberships CEO Jonathan King said: "These results appear to show that for many young people, learning do-it-yourself skills is no longer a priority. For many who live at home, or whose parents are always on hand to help, fixing things or knowing how to stop them going wrong may not be of great concern - but sooner or later, these are skills that we're all going to have to rely on. What is concerning is that many young people who are moving out on their own for the first time don't take up home emergency cover - when the evidence suggests that this is the group who are least equipped to cope with, or prevent, a home emergency situation."

But while many of the under-25s call upon their elders for DIY advice, three in 10 people over the age of 45 had to ask a younger friend or family member for help with more modern household tasks, with the most difficult skill being downloading music or video files from the internet - something that one in six (17%) struggled with. A similar proportion had to ask for help with uploading pictures to Facebook (16%), and burning or ripping CDs and DVDs (17%).

Younger people might argue that DIY expertise is no longer as relevant or useful as it once was, and that 21st century life has created a whole new set of skills that it is more valuable to know. Three-quarters (74%) of respondents said that being able to send a text message was essential knowledge for modern life, and 65% felt that it was very important to be able to change a mobile phone's battery or SIM card. The skill that was perceived as the most useful was being able to send emails with attachments, cited by 84%. Meanwhile, setting the VCR is a skill that is dying out - only 24% saw it as essential.

In many cases, a lack of confidence in one's own DIY abilities can lead to embarrassing blunders. Asked to describe the most embarrassing occasion on which they had called a tradesman out to the house, one in 200 mentioned nailing or drilling through a water main behind a wall or floorboard in true slapstick fashion. Other gaffes included a 'gas leak' that turned out to be smelly cat litter, another that was the result of a hole in a can of shaving foam, and a broken extractor fan which had been installed without an outlet. A further one in 100 described calling out a tradesman to fix their boiler, only to find that the thermostat was turned down.


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                                         % of 18-24 year  % of all UK adults
 DIY Task                                 olds unable to     (18+) unable to
                                          carry out task      carry out task
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 Turning off the water supply                        68%                 21%
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 Rewiring a plug                                     66%                 25%
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 Bleeding a radiator                                 63%                 26%
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 Unblocking a gutter                                 59%                 32%
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 Changing a fuse                                     58%                 17%
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 Changing a washer                                   57%                 37%
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 Clearing a blocked drain                            57%                 34%
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 Getting rid of a mouse problem                      50%                 29%
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 Putting up wallpaper                                48%                 35%
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 Unblocking a sink                                   48%                 17%
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 Unblocking a toilet                                 46%                 28%
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 Putting up a shelf                                  37%                 26%
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 Hanging a picture                                   30%                 10%
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 Changing a light bulb                               16%                  4%
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Notes to editors:

All research conducted in October 2012 by Canadean Consumer on behalf of HomeServe. A sample of 2,000 UK adults aged 18 and over were consulted.

For more information, please contact either:

Joseph Bradfield on 020 7861 3931 / jbrad[email protected]

Michael Sheen on 020 7861 3013 / [email protected]

About HomeServe

Every minute a HomeServe engineer comes to the rescue of a British household.

With over 2,700 directly employed and sub-contracted engineers, HomeServe is a national emergency home repair service backed by a 24 hour claims handling and repair network.

HomeServe's new tradesmen service provides households with access vetted tradesmen who are qualified to carry out hundreds of different jobs around the home.

HomeServe tradesmen are guaranteed to turn up on time, to hold the necessary qualifications to do the job at hand, to provide a price before they start the job and will even guarantee their work for a 12 month period afterwards.

HomeServe also offers insurance for plumbing, drains, boiler cover, electrical wiring and gas central heating.

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