Hunt under fire over 'housework' qualification

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The Independent Online
DAVID HUNT, the Secretary of State for Employment, was last night accused of patronising women after suggesting the Government may create National Vocational Qualifications for housewives.

A task force at the Department of Employment is already studying a number of fields where housework will be a factor in the award of a qualification, including sport and recreation, cleaning, catering, hairdressing, management and customer care.

'We must find some way of recognising the achievements of women in managing a home and family. If a woman has run a home with four children she's obviously a good manager. We are looking at ways we can recognise formally the qualifications of women in managing a home,' Mr Hunt told a conference on training and enterprise.

But his remarks were later attacked by the National Housewives' Association as patronising.

Emphasising the importance of NVQs, which have been running for about five years, he said: 'I'm not telling industry how to run training. The last thing I want is a Whitehall blueprint which won't fit real local needs.'

Mr Hunt, who enjoyed a reputation as an interventionist Secretary of State for Wales, also set out his vision for a return to an apprentice-style system for young workers and called for a new partnership between government and industry.

He said he wanted to see a 'true partnership' to encourage training and enterprise. 'Partnership is a concept - an attitude of mind - very dear to my heart and in Wales it has proved to be the key to economic regeneration.'