The rapid expansion of India's Apparel Training & Design Centre (ATDC) network - from 39 units in 2009 to 190 in 18 Indian states today - has been lauded for easing an acute labour shortage in the sector.

From October 2010 to March 2014, the ATDC trained 100,000 candidates, far exceeding the target of 88,000 set by India's ministry of textiles, Dr Darlie O Koshy, the centre's director general, told just-style.

Now, "there is a target to train another 150,000 candidates by March 2017, with a cumulative target of 250,000 candidates."

India's labour shortage in the apparel sector heightened during 2011 and continued to 2013 according to Dr Koshy.

A 2011, a survey by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India said 45% of textile and apparel firms were then running at half their production capacity due to labour shortage.

The centre, however, played a major role in easing these pressures. It was launched under the umbrella of India's Apparel Export and Promotion Council (AEPC) in 1996 but gained momentum after coming under the control of the ministry of textiles in 2010.

Since then, it has introduced contemporary textile manufacturing curricula approved by the directorate general of employment and training under the ministry of labour, with the goal of creating an industry- ready workforce.

"Simulated factory environment" with contemporary training infrastructure is made available in a "concept to consumer" and "fibre to fashion" approach, Dr Koshy explained.

Most importantly, the centre has created strong links with employers, using its contacts with AEPC exporter members, he added.