D&AD Shift With Google is Now Taking Applications for the 2022 New York Program

By Nandika Chatterjee 

D&AD Shift with Google, an industry-led night school program for new creatives, has opened applications for its 2022 New York program. This free program, open to those without a college degree, is meant to break the barrier unaffordable education puts up for many talented professionals in the industry.

Shift, now in its sixth year, aims to create exemplary creatives who can develop their portfolios, network and land jobs. In the program, these self-made creatives can hone their skills in a supportive educational environment, before putting them to practice at industry agencies.

Paul Drake, the foundation director at D&AD, primarily works to bridge the gap between education and employment. He said that Shift was born keeping D&AD’s “pursuit of creative excellence” along with the frustration with the design, advertising and creative industry’s stubbornness to accept new perspectives.

“There are still so many barriers that prevent people from getting creative learning that is right for them, making it even more difficult for people to have thriving successful careers in the creative industry,” Drake told Adweek. “Creative output remains poorer for it—we as an industry are still limiting who tells the stories and how.”

Despite this, Drake claimed that “Shifters” continue to leave him amazed. According to him, they find themselves at the top studios and agencies working on impressive projects like “directing for Stormzy and Dave and animating for Katy Perry.” Since the program’s launch, over 65% of all Shift NYC cohorts have secured roles in the industry, going on to work for agencies including TBWA, The Kennedys, Spotify, McCann, Area23, Grey, VMLY&Rand none of them have college degrees.

This year’s Shift program comes with its array of offerings, ranging from well-thought client briefs to inspiring trainers and mentors. In addition to that, Drake emphasized the large Shifters alumni base that can be a big resource for those in the program. And through the Shift Studio, creatives get paid to look over briefs while they simultaneously improve their portfolios.

Through Shift Studio, brands, as well as the Shift community, benefit equally. Drake explained how the studio allows “brands to tap into the incredible alumni talent” in London and New York and “support them to respond to briefs, continue to learn and network and build their portfolios.”

Google and Adidas’ support has helped the program to be ambitious with its goals and locations. As Drake puts it, “The program does not stop when people complete it—instead, they become part of something much bigger.”

Due to its success, the program has been able to introduce an extension called Shift Select. This allows Shifters to take their learning further by picking a specific business to join depending on a discipline of interest. 

Another new innovation is the Shift Campus. This free digital training tool will further democratize the Shift program by broadening its reach beyond in-person cohorts. 

“We hope that this learning resource will allow people in other cities to digest and use it in a way that is right for that market,” said Drake. The growth into physical cities will also grow this year as the Shift program will be launching in Berlin and Hamburg, as well as Sao Paolo in 2023.

“We’re constantly inspired by the innovative projects we come across during Shiftand are very proud to continue to support the night school,” said Saskia Owens, strategy and special projects at Google, in a statement. “It is a vital program that cultivates already brimming talent, builds creative community in cities like New Yorkand provides value not just to the Shifters but to the industry and the world.”

The applications are open through September 16 and applicants don’t require a pre-existing portfolio to apply. The program enjoys discovering applicants’ potential through their application stories. 

It is through the night school that creatives are exposed to key skills useful to their career in advertising and design, including copywriting, art direction, design, strategy and production to name a few. 

“Shift is for the industry, by the industry. Please get involved as an agency or as an individual and share the opportunity with someone who you think would benefit,” Drake said.

Aside from the New York school, Shift has programs in London and Sydney as well.