D&AD has re-launched its New Blood Shift program in New York, a free opportunity for aspiring creatives without college qualifications to get a foothold in the creative industries. As the next generation of creative talent faces significant barriers to education and employment because of Covid, the organisation is partnering with adidas and Spotify to continue offering a supportive and educational space for untrained talent.
Since 1980, D&AD New Blood has stimulated creative excellence by nurturing emerging talent from all backgrounds to work towards a fairer, more diverse creative sector. Right now, opportunities to learn new skills, impress creative employers and build portfolios are particularly difficult to access, especially for those without pre-existing networks, mentors or qualifications. D&AD is tackling this by continuing to offer 18 New York-based creatives a place on the Shift program. Now in its fifth year, the program is a night school designed to create pathways into the industry for those outside of the college system and provide aspiring talent a chance to develop and refine their creative skills.
Shift was due to take place earlier this year but was delayed by the coronavirus. The relaunched version is primarily digital – a program of online workshops, talks by industry leaders at agencies, including VMLY&R and MullenLowe, and real client briefs.
As part of Shift, applicants 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 February 2021. In 2019, 74% of the Shifters on the London program secured placements after graduating the scheme, including in leading companies such McCann, Droga5 and Design Bridge.
Hilary Chittenden, senior foundation manager at D&AD, commented, “Shift has always been dedicated to improving routes of access into the creative industries, showcased by the number of internships, paid-placements and full time roles with leading agencies that our alumni have secured. As networking and job opportunities become difficult to access as a result of the pandemic, creatives without traditional qualifications face even more barriers to kick starting their careers than ever before. We are proud to be able to continue offering Shift this year as a way of spotlighting a pool of untapped creative talent who can often go ignored. Our digital program will be our most accessible yet and we look forward to proving to the industry the value of investing in different types of creative talent.”
Nicole Vollebregt, senior vice president of Global Purpose at adidas, stated, “At adidas, we believe that through sport, we have the power to change lives — and we action that belief by not just creating access to sport, but by also working to facilitate greater access to creative industries like ours. D&AD Shift is breaking the mould of traditional education and democratizing access to career growth in our industry, and we’re grateful to partner with it in this effort.”
Alex Bodman, VP, global executive creative director at Spotify, added, “So many of the most successful and powerful voices on Spotify’s platform found their creative voice without taking a traditional path. For years now, Shift has been an essential program for an industry in need of new voices, perspectives, and the type of creativity you can’t earn with just a degree. We’re thrilled to partner with D&AD yet again – and look forward to seeing the impact of this year’s program.”
Find more information about the D&AD New Blood Shift New York program on the D&AD website. The Shift program will also be taking place in London in 2021. Further details to be announced shortly.