D&AD’s free night school Shift partners with Google to go global and online

Aimed at emerging creatives without a university-level degree, the free course will expand to three more cities and go digital, with the ultimate goal to diversify the industry’s talent pipeline.

24 February 2021
Reading Time
2 minute read

D&AD Shift is a free night school for non-university-educated creatives, which for the past five years has been supporting emerging talent through its annual course and mentorship scheme to learn the ropes and get a foot in the door. Now a new partnership with Google will allow the programme to expand into new cities and introduce digital training, as well as new course modules, so this alternative route to industry can be more widely accessible.

The school has been running in New York and London, and will first expand to Sydney this year, then two further cities in the next three years. New course modules being added to the curriculum include advertising, digital design, graphic design and production. As part of the Google partnership, D&AD is also launching Shift Agency, a workforce comprised entirely of Shift participants past and present, working on real client briefs for a list of brands.

Overall, the goal of the school is to uncover, support and ultimately help secure jobs for a more diverse group of creative talent from a wider range of backgrounds than is typical of the industry. Shift tackles barriers to entry to higher education and employment by giving successful applicants the chance to hone their skills, establish a network and develop their portfolios, with live briefs, talks and mentorship. So far, 123 people have completed the programme. Statistics collated in 2019 showed that since completing the night school, 78 per cent of Shift alumni in London have entered into paid creative employment, compared to only 41 per cent of design graduates and just 24 per cent of media graduates employed in their sectors six months after graduation.

Paul Drake, foundation director at D&AD said in a statement: “Agencies and brands want their creative teams to be more representative of the people they are creating for – but that diversity can be impossible to find if the only place you look for it is art and design schools.” Instead, D&AD Shift not only offers routes to employment for young creatives, but to the industry’s benefit, also offers a richer pool of talent. “By getting behind D&AD Shift with Google they can support and employ incredible individuals who challenge the assumption that talent only resides in a few universities.”

This year’s course in London is now open for applications (deadline 26 April), running from June – September 2021 and as per usual will include briefs set by creative industry leaders and top brands.

Industry leaders who wish to volunteer mentorship on the programme can email shift@dandad.org.

GalleryD&AD Shift with Google (Copyright © D&AD)

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D&AD Shift with Google (Copyright © D&AD)

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About the Author

Jenny Brewer

Jenny joined the editorial team as It’s Nice That’s first news editor in April 2016. Having studied 3D Design, she has spent over a decade working in design journalism. Contact her with news stories relating to the creative industries on jb@itsnicethat.com.

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