Education charity D&AD has announced the launch of the inaugural D&AD Shift with Google program in Sydney.
Running in London and New York since 2016, Shift is D&AD’s free, four-month industry-led night school which aims to uncover, support and ultimately help secure jobs for self-made creative talent without a traditional degree qualification.
Supported by the local Sydney industry, the program champions unique and underrepresented voices to challenge the assumption that great creative talent can only be found within a small number of universities and communities.
Earlier this year, D&AD announced the partnership with Google which has enabled the expansion of the Shift program into Sydney alongside two further cities over the next three years.
As well as the launch of new digital training that aims to democratise access to world-class learning and the introduction of specialist modules into the curriculum in advertising, digital design, graphic design and production.
Since 1980, D&AD’s New Blood program has stimulated creative excellence by nurturing emerging talent into the industry.
Shift builds on this mission by aiming to open access to the commercial creative industries for talent from all backgrounds in the belief that diverse thinking leads to better creative outcomes.
The program provides non-university educated creatives with an opportunity to refine their skills, build a network and develop their portfolios.
Consisting of industry briefs, talks and mentorship, Shift provides a supportive and educational space for creatives to gain an understanding of what it takes to work within the creative sector.
In 2019, six months after completing the Shift program, 60 per cent of alumni in New York and London have entered into paid creative employment, demonstrating the urgent need for the program.
The launch in Sydney follows ongoing initiatives developed by D&AD and The Glue Society in partnership with Google to provide emerging creatives with an opportunity to work with industry leaders to develop their skills.
The program is also responding to recent research conducted by Diversity Arts Australia which found that although CALD (Culturally and linguistically diverse) Australians make up 39 per cent of the population, they are disproportionately underrepresented in key leadership roles, with only 10 per cent of CEOs, 14 per cent of creative directors and 12 per cent of senior executives identifying as CALD.
Over the last few decades, Sydney has positioned itself as a leading hub for the creative and media industries in Australia, with many of the most influential agencies including BMF, DDB, Havas, Leo Burnett, Publicis Mojo, Whybin/TBWA and McCann setting up offices in the city.
Shift in Sydney aims to overcome barriers to the Australian creative sector by providing aspiring creatives with direct routes to the industry.
The Sydney program will see D&AD partner with Adidas to set a ‘brief in a day’, which will enable participants to develop their portfolios and creative approaches while giving them direct access to the brand’s creative teams.
Paul Drake, foundation director at D&AD, said: “With so much of our focus on building a fairer future for the creative industries, it’s important we continue to expand our programs to allow agencies across the globe access to more inclusive hiring practices.
“Expansion into territories like Sydney, that have a globally renowned creative community, will allow us to spread the core mission of Shift – that great creative talent is not born solely in universities and colleges, and in certain parts of society.
“Both our London and New York programs have helped nurture untapped creative talent into professional opportunities and we are extremely excited to push for the same in hubs such as Sydney and beyond.”
Tara McKenty, creative head, Google APAC, said: “Over the last four years, Rare with Google has had a strong partnership with D&AD.
“Today, we are proud to be building on this further, to bring the night school to Sydney.
“In New York and London, we have seen diverse talent gain immense value and confidence from this program, which reflects in the high employment numbers for these talented creatives. It is exciting to see what opportunities the Sydney chapter opens up.”
Jonathan Kneebone, co-founder of The Glue Society, said: “D&AD Shift has been such a success in every city where it has been staged – seeking out and encouraging unique creative voices in various corners of the world.
“We have been hoping to bring Shift to Sydney for a while – as unearthing brilliant, diverse and ‘hidden’ talent is something that is truly needed within our rather uniform creative departments.
“The more different the experiences that people within our industry can have, the more it enriches our collective ability. And new perspectives bring new dimensions to the work. I can’t wait to break new ground with a new generation of raw Australian talent.”
The 2021 D&AD Shift with Google Sydney program is now open for applications.
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