My Mustard and Oaklands College: A winning partnership

Read about one of many successful industry relationships Oaklands College have forged, to help further improve the experience of its apprenticeship students.


HEMEL HEMPSTEAD — As part of the Apprenticeship programmes on offer at Oaklands, the college has been able to forge professional industry relationships, creating work experience opportunities for its students. 

One of the companies which Oaklands College works closely with is Hertfordshire-based advertising agency; My Mustard.

My Mustard are a pay-per-click advertising campaign which generates traffic to a companies targeting and relevant audiences.

We spoke to owner and self-proclaimed pay per click advertising evangelist, June Cory:

We introduced our apprenticeship programme back in 2015 as the company was growing at a rate that the existing team of four could not cope with – a lovely problem to have.

I have worked with people of all generations over the years but have derived the most satisfaction from working with people in their late teens and twenties as the development curve is steep and seeing people gain confidence from broadening their expertise is truly rewarding.

There were lots of marketing graduates around, but the workload flow and skillset required at Mustard Towers are often so fluid that a week at the coalface would terrify most people.

So, we decide to grow our own.

I chose the apprenticeship route as one of our values is ‘learning while you’re earning’ and the discipline and satisfaction that formal education brings works well alongside the more fluid and dynamic pace of a commercial organisation.

I wanted the next generation of Mustardeers to have a solid background in all areas of business so specifically chose Business Admin at Levels 3 and 4 rather than Digital Marketing as I wanted my team to have a broad introduction to office life – they write reports, attend meetings, understand a balance sheet, engage on social media, set up campaigns, run projects, work in teams, get conversant with new technology on a monthly basis, analyse data, network with people twice their age and experience, all the while offering the very highest level of customer service.

I chose Oaklands College because they are experts in learning, committed to helping people realise their potential, understand best practice in the sector and most importantly for me, they take time to get to know each individual on their journey.

My Mustard has gone on to employ three former Oaklands College apprentices, we sat down with them to hear about their journeys and their experience on the apprenticeship programme.

Hugh Pettit

‘I started my career at My Mustard aged 20, having recently left University after reading Law for one year, I saw ‘earning and learning’ as a far better use of my time…

The apprenticeship I completed at My Mustard was a Level 4 in Business Administration, which covered a varied and customisable range of modules, I selected my modules to best suit my position at My Mustard at the time. These included events, continuous professional development, business communications and much more.

I completed my apprenticeship back in July 2019, which was extremely satisfying as the hard work that went into it really paid off, allowing me to become more competent in almost every aspect of my job role. Also, on completing the apprenticeship my role changed to a Key Account Manager, which gave me much more responsibility for individual clients and this then led to higher job satisfaction.  I take care of the digital marketing for some of our most important accounts, meaning I can contribute even more to My Mustard’s bottom line.

I’d describe my apprenticeship experience as eye-opening, challenging and rewarding. I wholeheartedly recommend looking into apprenticeships to other students as the offerings out there may surprise you, I initially thought apprenticeships were more suited towards the trades and a handful of other industries, but in reality you can complete an apprenticeship in almost any line of work.

Max Chadwick

I spent one year at college studying graphic design which I enjoyed, however, it was very much the basics of design. When I was 18 I started my journey at My Mustard with my Business Admin Level 3 course. Since being at My Mustard my job role has evolved into becoming a designer and managing the social media for our clients. This role now involves designing adverts for our clients & managing their social media accounts.

I completed my apprenticeship studies last month which, although it was a long process, it was really helpful and insightful to learn about business and I believe it’s put me in a really good position for the rest of my life. During my apprenticeship I completed various assignments that ranged from curating presentations to present to my team to designing bespoke documents in the workplace.

In three words I would describe the apprenticeship as: Interesting, Tough & Rewarding

The most challenging aspect of the course for me was the presenting. I’m not the best when it comes to presenting and nerves tend to get the better of me, however after a long prep and set of practise runs, I was able to present my presentation to my team with little to no hitches. I also really enjoyed the lead up to the presenting, learning about the importance of my topic and also the ability to be creative when producing the presentation.

Kate Fitzgerald

After completing a UAL Extended Diploma in Performing Arts (Dance), I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do and what my next career steps looked like. Although, I did know that I didn’t want to laden myself with debt at University and I was very interested in business.

Cue, My Mustard…

I was 18 when I was employed full-time and began my Level 3 Business Administration course at My Mustard. I am now 10 months in, managing over 20 advertising clients which involves setting up, managing, reporting, and optimising campaigns across Google, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, TikTok and Snapchat.

Completion of my studies is on the horizon for Christmas and I would describe the journey so far as exciting, invaluable and prosperous.

I am part of a successful, growing business and am continuously gaining invaluable business experience and knowledge which I believe no full-time university degree could offer.

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