At last, a college course for all: how to build Ikea furniture

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The Independent Online

The British education system is finally meeting the real needs of the nation. Forget Latin, physics, materials science and biology. The course that the country was yearning for is finally here: flat-pack furniture assembly 101.

Alarmed at the number of people struggling to fit bracket G into shelf H, Northampton College has developed a course that promises to make sense of the unintelligible pamphlets that pass for furniture assembly instructions.

Helene Parker, the college's marketing manager, said: "Men tend to do the whole caveman thing and rush in there without looking at the instructions. Women are more logical. They look at all the parts and check them off against the instructions before they try to assemble it."

The course has already caught the imagination of the Scandinavians, where Ikea hails from. A Danish radio station contacted the college and asked if the course's tutor could run his seminars there.

The free three-hour class is part of the college's "bite-size" programme for people who have abandoned education believing they don't have enough time to commit to a full-length course. Others on the programme include sessions on digital photography, first aid and computer skills.

The college also considered "Reverse Parking for Women", "Putting on a Duvet Cover Without Ending up Inside it", and a specialist course for men, "Ironing Shirts", before turning tofrustrated DIYers.

A spokeswoman for Ikea - scourge of many a wardrobe-assembler - welcomed the new course: "It will provide people with confidence and encourage them to do more home improvements rather than paying tradesmen."