Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) has joined hands with the Apparel Export Promotion Council (AEPC) for offering various educational programmes in the skill-based domain of apparels, garments and fashion designing.

The council runs apparel management and apparel training and design centres, which are non-profit industry-managed organisations promoting manufacture and exports of garments, education and training in the domain.

U.S. Tolia, Registrar (Administration) IGNOU, and Darlie Koshy, Director-General for Education and Training of the council, signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) in the presence of V.N. Rajasekharan Pillai, Vice-Chancellor of the university, and Rakesh Vaid, Chairman of the council, on October 12.

The MoU aims to institute educational programmes in the skill-based domain of apparels, garments and fashion designing that will ensure employment to people. The two arms of the council, the Institute of Apparel Management and the training and design centres, have developed a few programmes for niche areas of functioning in the apparel industry.

The MoU will ensure IGNOU certification and scaling up for further domain knowledge, besides helping professionals in the ‘fibre-to-fashion’ chain of textile, apparel and retail industries.

Commending the council for the move to educate and empower lakhs of youth who want to join the apparel industry for gainful careers, Prof. Pillai said the initiative would underline IGNOU’s commitment to the goals of the National Skills Mission, which targeted creation of livelihood opportunities for needy individuals.

Explaining that 52 training and design centres in the country will be used to provide vocational education certifiable by IGNOU, Dr. Koshy said the programmes would be technical and vocational.

All programmes will be in modular manner between IGNOU and the council’s twin arms. Various models to make use of the network of training and design centres will be explored following the MoU, such as the distance education model, community colleges and open education norms, he said.

Activity centre

The MoU ensures exploration of possibilities to set up an activity centre to create avenues for gainful employment in the textile, apparel, lifestyle and retail sectors. The tie-up will ensure the exclusive use of networks of IGNOU and the two arms of the council to provide skill-development of the candidates.

Innovative technological and vocational academic programmes by sharing expertise and joint market surveys to develop a need-based approach to help the professionals in their career pathways will be implemented. The MoU will help in the creation of a delivery culture driven by information and communication technology and development of concepts and white papers for bridging education and industry requirements.