Good question... I dunno what is the answer. I'll do some poking around and get back to you if I discover an decent answer. You should email the people at iPage as they probably can answer it..
I would say, do all the courses you can, read all the books that you can, and practice, practice, PRACTICE!.
The more time you spend on it the better you will get..
I started learning HTML as part of my degree course 5 years ago, but it only in the last year that I was given the task of producing a company intranet and really got to develop my skills..
Practice making imaginary sites, and you will learn as you go, and at the same time build up a portfolio of work to show prospective employers..
It sounds like your heart is in it and determination is half the battle, especially when you get into programming!..
I'd just like to say that I would really love to be in your position..
I think that you should take very opportunity you can, esspecially if your employer is willing to pay for to go on courses..
I'm 18 and am trying to decide what I want to do with my life. I would love to be a web-designer, but I don't really think I have the creativity. And thats it, personally I think creativity is the key. Virtually anyone can learn HTML or how to program, but to really come up with original ideas is quite something. I'm not sure that creativity is something that can be learnt, it is more an in-born ability - some have it and some don't..
It seems that you have your foot-in-the-door, you are working within the IT industry and are being given the chance to further your skills..
As for the tools you use, i'm no expert, but it seems to me that Dreamweaver and Photoshop appear to be the industry standards (someone please let me know if this isn't true)..
If it is what you want to do, go for it. I agree with what Goldilocks said about practice. Press the gas and don't look back. Just play with the stuff. Buying books for reference also helps. I would say that if your company is going to pay for you to learn the stuff, do it.
As my grandfather once said, "If you are offered money (or in this case free education), take it."..
I think that it is important to get the basics down. Learn to hand code HTML, it will help a lot later. If you can take a course for free, do so! Dreamweaver canmake good pages, but you learn very little about coding that way. Also, there a a hundred ways to go AFTER you learn to make web pages. Making web pages is really the beginning of a much larger field...