D&AD and Google have partnered together for an annual program that’s helping emerging creatives of color gain access to paid opportunities.

A press release reports that last month D&AD announced the launch of its 2021 edition of the D&AD Shift with Google program in New York, which is connecting aspiring talent to an accessible space that allows them to perfect their craft via free night school that doesn’t even require a college degree. This approach not only helps creatives secure jobs, without barriers it also gives the industry direct access to some of the best up-and-coming talent in the city.

During a time where society is focused now more than ever on uplifting the next generation of diverse leaders, D&AD Shift offers a great opportunity to bridge the gap between education and employment in the creative sector.

“It’s time we look towards a fairer future for the creative industries. Creativity thrives from diverse minds and perspectives, and the only way this can be harnessed is by agencies and brands looking beyond those who have privileged access routes to get in,” Paul Drake — Foundation Director at D&AD — shared in a statement. “We all need to act on the belief that great creative talent does not only reside in a few universities or colleges. D&AD Shift with Google has consistently matched creative talent with professional opportunities over the past five years. With the continued support of our partners such as Google and adidas, the program is expanding and connecting a growing wave of self-made creative talent to the industry.”

D&AD has been a long-standing advocate championing creative excellence since 1980, and its five-year annual program is another example of how the company is challenging the status quo when it comes to searching for talent in traditional places. Through the Shift program, self-made creatives are able to “hone their skills, establish a network and develop their portfolios” by way of mentorship, industry-set briefs and talks, a press release reports.

D&AD announced the expansion of the Shift program earlier this year in partnership with Google as part of an effort to help it launch digital training and democratize access to world-class learning for those not fortunate enough to have these tools and resources at their fingertips.

Applicants will enroll in the four-month night school from October 2021 to March 2022 with a chance to work on various projects that reference the latest trends and topics of the industry. Participants will then have the opportunity to reveal their months of hard work in a final showcase at the conclusion of the program.

D&AD has partnered with adidas again this year to set one of the main creative briefs that will provide the New York cohort with direct access to the brand and its mentorship to help them develop their portfolios and creative style.

Applications for the 2021 D&AD Shift with Google New York program are now open and available online.

For more information on how to apply for the program, click here.