The UpSkill Project

The UpSkill Project

DIY Training from Lowe’s

While some people are fortunate enough to grow up with parents, grandparents or other relatives with home improvement and repair skills to share, many of us rely on hit-or-miss techniques or YouTube videos for home projects. Researchers for Lowe’s home improvement stores found that 35 percent of adults lack the confidence or skills to begin a do-it-yourself project. Even as home improvement spending has increased in recent years, homeowner confidence in their ability to complete projects has declined.

According to an analysis by the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University, Americans will spend nearly $400 billion on home improvements in 2017.

If you’d like to feel more confident about your DIY abilities, you could be a good candidate for the UpSkill Project launched in July by Lowe’s. Store employees, associates and specialized experts from Lowe’s, including designers, general contractors, craftsmen and teachers, are helping more than 200 homeowners in 40 cities define and plan an in-house project, purchase the right tools and materials and then master the skills to complete it. These experts don’t do the project – they teach and guide homeowners to do it themselves.

"We wanted to find a way to provide homeowners with the confidence necessary to experience their ‘I can do this!’ DIY moment, while also celebrating the skills our employees provide customers every day in the aisle and giving them another way to connect with customers in their homes," says Ruth Crowley, vice president of customer experience design at Lowe’s.

To participate in the UpSkills project, customers in select areas across the country submit a video detailing the skills they want to learn through a project. Lowe’s selects certain projects based on the submissions and then goes into their home for two days. Employees work side-by-side with the individual – and sometimes their friends and family – to teach them the skills to get their project done.

"Through this program, we’re able to leverage the expertise of Lowe’s associates and give them a platform to become a teacher and pass on their home improvement know-how to others," says Crowley.

Skills mastered with professional guidance

So far, Crowley says, “UpSkillers” have mastered creative painting, landscaping, furniture construction, kitchen backsplash installation, bathroom flooring and back garden patio building.

Approximately 67 percent of the homeowners who have signed up for the UpSkill experience have been female. The DIY training attracts a mix of age groups, with 33 percent Millennials and 25 percent Baby Boomers. The largest group (42 percent) so far has been in the Gen X age range of 38 to 52.

Once the UpSkillers have received their training and completed their project, Lowe’s will give them the opportunity to "pay their skills forward" to their friends, family and neighbors.

"At the in-store UpSkill workshops, the project doers become the teachers by demonstrating their newly learned skills and helping instruct others," says Crowley. "The majority of workshop attendees come to learn a new skill or get project advice, and 9 out of 10 attendees say they would ‘definitely recommend’ participation to a friend."

Crowley says that so far, 100 percent of the individuals that have participated have completed another DIY project in their home.

For more information on how to participate, visit