D&AD partners with Google to expand education programme

Shift Agency will allow past and present students of the Shift education programme to work on client briefs and add to their portfolio.

D&AD has announced it is partnering with Google to expand its education programme, including the launch of the ongoing learning tool Shift Agency.

Taking place in London and New York annually, the Shift programme is aimed at self-taught and emerging creatives without a traditional university background.

It has run for the last five years and a new partnership with Google will soon see it expanded to new cities and offer a wider range of taught skills like graphic design, digital design and production.

Those working with the Shift Agency will work on client briefs to develop their portfolios.

“A long-term commitment to those who have been through the programme”

The motivation behind launching Shift Agency was to support graduates of the programme who are in the process of finding employment, according to D&AD foundation director Paul Drake.

“We want Shift to offer ongoing support and value to Shifters as they establish themselves in the creative industry,” he says. “Shift has always had a long-term commitment to those who have been through the programme and the partnership with Google has allowed us to increase our ambition for what this can look like.”

The briefs therefore aim to act as a means for people to “continue to develop their portfolios and creative style” under the guidance of industry professionals who can support and mentor, he says.

“Generate new ideas and insights for the clients”

As with the Shift programme itself, which runs annually for four months at a time, the agency will also run for short periods of time, Drake says.

Each stint for the agency will see “Shifters” past and present working on a single client brief, while being supported. In this way, the intention is for the agency to be mutually beneficial for both Shift participants and clients, he says.

“Shifters will be able to continue to develop their portfolios, hone their craft and style, gain a better understanding of the work they like to make, find employment and forge relationships,” Drake says. “In addition, the agency will generate new ideas and insights for the clients and as with all D&AD initiatives, clients will be able to buy the IP if they wish to use the work.”

“We recognise that a single linear path is unrealistic”

Drake points out that there will be no obligation for Shift students to work as part of the agency. Rather, it is an “optional” part of the programme.

“[We] recognise that a single linear path is unrealistic and does not fit with the needs of people who are at different points in their lives,” he says.

Applications for Shift London are open until 26 April and can be carried out here. Meanwhile industry professionals who wish to volunteer for mentorship can email shift@dandad.org

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