Free vs. Paid Learning: Benefits of a Paid Course

There has always been a wide variety of free courses online ranging from digital marketing, to understanding Excel, even juggling. In fact, there is pretty much a YouTube video for every skill under the sun. But during the lockdown your timelines and feeds have probably been inundated with free sales, marketing, and management courses to fill your ‘extra time.

The government have even put together their own online learning tool kit, and Gavin Williamson encouraged furloughed employees to "improve their knowledge, build their confidence and support their mental health so they have skills they need to succeed after the coronavirus outbreak" in a statement this week.

But whilst all CPD is a positive thing, not all CPD is created equal.

Any type of learning is great so free courses may fill a need in your personal and professional development. However, there are some benefits to a paid qualification you don't find with most free courses.

There is now more of a need for example, within marketing, for more formal training as marketers need to put on many hats in their working lives. Mark Ritson says in his recent blog for Marketing Week:

The latest annual CMO Survey shows marketing is losing many of its strategic jobs to other functions – a situation that will only worsen unless marketers place more value on formal training

Standard of learning (Ofqual)

The Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation (Ofqual) is a government body that regulates qualifications, examinations and assessments in England. All of our sales, marketing and management qualifications are Ofqual regulated, ensuring an extra level of quality and the peace of mind that your studying is secured and regulated by a trusted source.

Industry Accreditation

If your qualification is accredited by an industry expert body, then you know your training will be top-notch. What better way to learn the ropes in your preferred industry than from those who know it best?

Find out more about the institutes behind our qualification accreditations below:

ISM (Institute of Sales Management)

The ISM is the authoritative voice of selling. They enhance the prestige and integrity of the sales profession with internationally recognised learning opportunities. They represent sales professionals across the world and are the custodians of sales ethics and best practice.

CMI (Chartered Management Institute)

The CMI focus on providing practical, proven solutions to create better led and managed organisations. They have a wealth of experience and knowledge when it comes to management, leadership and how to bring a business up to its full potential.

CIM (Chartered Institute of Marketing)

The CIM was founded way back in 1911 and strives for recognition of the positive contribution professional marketing can bring to organisations and the economy. They promote responsible and best practice marketing that’s always up to date with the everchanging environment.

Benefits of studying a paid course or qualification


The ISM, CMI and CIM offer memberships along with studying a qualification. The benefits of being a member vary depending on the level of membership and on the industry.

They range from expert CPD (Continuing Professional Development) support, practical guides, webinars and networking events to mentoring and exclusive membership magazines and insights.

Access to expert trainers and support

Many free courses are pre-made online tutorials that are great for a quick fix of knowledge, but if you’re looking for tailored one-to-one support and on-demand help, paid courses are the way to go.

Our trainers and mentors are experts in their field, whether it be sales, marketing or management. This means they are more than happy to share their real-life work experiences, successes and even advice on failures with students to help them on their way to progressing in their careers.


Credibility goes the distance when you’re off to that important job interview or trying to earn a promotion. Internationally recognised qualifications even give you the freedom to travel while knowing your efforts will be familiar and valuable beyond your doorstep.

Maybe some of the best things in life are free. But it’s also true that if it brings you value, it’s worth something. And if you’re looking for quality, accreditation, tutor support and some of the best real-world career skills money can buy – you’ve come to the right place.

It’s important to note that studying paid qualification doesn’t have to break the bank. Our Sales, Marketing and Management qualifications can be undertaken in single Awards keeping the costs down and still putting you on the pathway to a full qualification in your own time. We also offer payment plans to spread the cost over a period of up to 12 months.

It’s easier to pay for learning when you can see the immediate benefit. Why not get in touch with a qualifications adviser today to learn more or check out our online store?