Events: D&AD Shift enters new phase of growth in partnership with Google

● D&AD partners with Google to expand Shift, the organisation’s free night school for talent from non-traditional creative backgrounds. ● D&AD Shift with Google will create an accessible space for self-taught, emerging creatives to hone their skills and help the industry access a richer mix of talent. ● Taking place in London, New York and launching in Sydney for 2021, D&AD Shift with Google will then expand into two further cities in the next three years ● The partnership will allow Shift to introduce digital training, new specialist modules, as well as Shift Agency. ● The partnership commences with the London programme now open for applications and will include briefs set by leading global brands.

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LONDON, UK — Education charity D&AD and Google today announce a new partnership that aims to uncover, support and ultimately help secure jobs for diverse creative talent. Together they will expand Shift, D&AD’s free industry-led night school for self-made, non-university educated creators running for the past five years. The new partnership commences with the launch of this year’s D&AD Shift with Google in London, a programme which will include briefs set by leading global brands.

Since 1980, D&AD New Blood has stimulated creative excellence by nurturing emerging talent. Taking place in London and New York annually, Shift tackles barriers to entry into the creative industry by providing an opportunity for emerging talent to hone their skills, establish a network and develop their portfolios. Consisting of industry-set briefs, talks and mentorship, Shift provides a supportive and educational space for creatives who face barriers to access higher education and employment. 

D&AD Shift with google

At a time when the industry must prioritise and respond to diversity and inclusivity in the workforce, Shift also enables creative companies to tap into a pool of diverse talent, and strives to build an industry which is reflective and relevant to society at large. Statistics collated in 2019 showed that since completing the night school, 78% of Shift alumni in London have entered into paid creative employment, compared to only 41% of design graduates and just 24% of media graduates employed in their sectors six months after graduation. 

In the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic, aspiring creatives are facing more challenges than ever and this new partnership will enable D&AD to successfully expand the Shift programme into a new phase of growth. D&AD Shift with Google will take place in Sydney for the first time in 2021, and will be introduced into two further cities over the next three years, as well as the launch of new digital trainings that aim to democratise access to world-class learning. The partnership will also facilitate the introduction of specialist modules into the curriculum in Advertising, Digital Design, Graphic Design and Production.

In addition, 2021 will see the introduction of Shift Agency, a workforce comprised entirely of Shift participants past and present, working on real client briefs for a list of client brands that any agency would be proud to work on. 


The 2021 D&AD Shift with Google London programme is now open for applications from aspiring creatives without traditional, university-level qualifications. This year, successful applicants will gain a place in the night school running from June to September 2021. As part of Shift, applicants will get the opportunity to work on a diverse range of projects that reflect the latest trends and topics of the industry, brought together in a final showcase of creative work in November 2021. 

Paul Drake, Foundation Director at D&AD, commented“Agencies and brands need and 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. 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. For five years Shift has consistently matched self-made talent to opportunities in industry. Jobs have been the result – and they will continue to be the key metric in our exciting new partnership with Google.” 

Ben Malbon, Senior Director at Google in EMEA, commented: “Diversity is an engine of creativity. There has never been a more important time to extend and support the opportunities available to those who don’t come into the industry through the conventional doorways. We’ve been great admirers of the work of the Shift team at D&AD for many years, and it’s a privilege to be involved with the team there to expand the scale and impact of their work. We’re excited about what this partnership can grow into.” 

More information about the D&AD Shift with Google London programme, including entry details and submission deadlines can be found on the D&AD website. The Shift programme will also be running in New York and launching for the first time in Sydney later this year, more details to be announced shortly.

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