I wrote a blog last year on the importance of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) for professionals. If you are interested in having a read, please click here –
Today, we will discuss a very specific topic of unaccredited courses for teaching professionals. I will tell you a bit of background on why I thought there was a need for writing this blog. We would often get enquiries from potential learners wishing to start a course with us that is advertised at, say, £300. It’s a three months course with all the charges included and absolutely no hidden costs whatsoever. However, the learner would suggest that the same course is on offer for £10 on another website. Knowing that even the awarding organisation registration fee is close to £80, we would be shocked and would ask the learner for a link to the £10 course.
It doesn’t take us more than a few seconds to realise that the £10 course, with the same name as ours, is unaccredited. What makes it worse is that the advertiser is not categorically stating that the course is unaccredited but rather leaving hints to imply the same. Such hints include the following:
- Mention of extra “registration” fee
- Mention of extra “certification” fee
- Mention of “option to claim the certificate”
- Mention of “access to study material only”
- Mention of “CPD Accredited”
Regardless of the wording used or tactic deployed to register learners for £10, the essence of the matter is that you do not get the OFQUAL approved certification if you do not pay extra. It reminds me of all the free online services where you are asked to spend many minutes (even hours) submitting all your details to get something for free, only to arrive at the payment page at the end because the service was never free, to begin with. In case you are wondering what an OFQUAL approved certificate means Click here for further information
As you will notice from my writing above, I am very critical of such websites for obvious reasons. Misguiding learners into buying a course could lead them to make false claims on their profiles/CVs, leading to all sorts of problems. It also puts the credibility of such websites into doubt.
However, I will try to balance the argument to maintain impartiality. As I have argued in this blog, Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is very much possible through unaccredited courses. As far as you are not relying on a course to build your profile, an unaccredited course bought for £10 or £20 is not such a bad deal. You get to learn new knowledge and skills, which indeed widens your horizon within your chosen subject.
Another great argument in favour of these unaccredited courses is if these courses are (CPD Accredited). CPD accreditation does not have any regulatory value as it’s just a private company certifying unaccredited courses. A CPD accredited course will, in no way, come even closer to OFQUAL accredited courses. No education provider, employer, vendor or regulatory body would accept CPD Accreditation as even a remote equivalent of a regulated course. The only thing that the CPD accredited mark will do is give you a tiny bit of peace of mind that some professional has had a look at the course content before it was made live to you for £10. To be honest, if you are spending £10-£20 on a course, expecting any more than that would be pretty ambitious.
As a matter of fact, some courses are only offered unaccredited such as PREVENT and Safeguarding courses. Many of our learners approach us for courses that are not OFQUAL approved and hence can only be designed, offered and awarded internally. There is every chance that we start offering unaccredited courses ourselves. What we will not do, however, is mis-sell these courses. We will make sure that learners make an informed decision when enrolling on any of our unaccredited courses when we do start these in the future.
In conclusion, an unaccredited CPD course has its advantages. However, please do not mistake such courses for ones that will substantially change your profile or employability. If you are willing to spend the time and effort to improve your employability and earning potential, make sure to do a course that is OFQUAL accredited.