Exclusive interview with Coca Cola’s Christmas Truck driver

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HGV / LGV Cat 'C+E' (Class 1)

Any vehicle over 7.5t that has a detachable or separate trailer, Cat 'C+E' licences can only be applied for once the driver has taken and passed their Cat 'C'. These are larger vehicles so tend to be used for long haul, national and international routes. Starting salaries are around £28,000 per year.

HGV / LGV Cat 'C' (Class 2)

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Cat C1

For use if driving any goods vehicle that is above 3.5t and below 7.5t in weight. If you gained your driving licence before 1997, you will automatically have this category on your licence. If you gained your driving licence after 1997, you will have to take a test. Note – if you gain your Cat 'C' you automatically get given your Cat 'C1', so it is advisable to take a full Cat 'C' course and get both categories for the price of one. C1 vehicle examples include: horseboxes, ambulances, Occado delivery vehicles etc. Course can be completed in 1x week.

Cat C1+E

Same as above, but gives you the capacity to tow a trailer behind your C1 vehicle. Course can be completed in 1x week.

Cat B+E

This enables you to tow an item behind a standard car. Again, if you passed before 1997 you do not need to pass a test to tow a trailer behind a car – if you passed after 1997, a full course and driving test is required. Course can be completed in 3x days.

Cat D

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Cat D1

Enables you to drive a minibus of 9-16 seats maximum. If you passed your driving test before 1997 this category will already be on your licence, if you passed after that date a full course and test is required. Course can be completed in 1x week.

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The licences depend on what vehicle is used and the type of environment it is used in. 1-day refresher courses: for experienced operators with lapsed licences 3-day mini courses: for experienced operators who have not received formal training 5-day full courses: for novices who have not received any training and have no experience. All courses begin with classroom time where you will learn the theoretical requirements of the vehicle they are being trained on. Includes all relevant aspects of health and safety and short multiple-choice Theory Test. Practical training begins with an explanation as to the operation of the relevant truck. Practical elements cover daily vehicle checks and safe loading techniques – you will then practice the operation of the vehicle until they become proficient, whereby a short practical test will take place.

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November 18, 2016 1:33 pm

For lots of people around the world, the Coca Cola Christmas truck is one of the traditional signs that the holidays are coming – whether they spot it on TV or in real life driving through their home town. It’s probably the most famous HGV in the world, so of course we wanted to find out about the driver behind the wheel of the UK’s Coca Cola truck, and what this very high profile job involves.

Thanks to driver Paul Reece-Jerrams and Coca Cola themselves, here are a few exclusive insights about the Coca Cola truck that HGV drivers and non-HGV drivers alike can enjoy.


Why did you become an HGV driver and what made you decide to be one?

Paul: I’ve loved trucks ever since I was young. I’ve wanted to be a truck driver ever since my brother passed his HGV test – I followed in his footsteps and have been driving ever since!


How long have you been driving the Coca-Cola truck?

 Paul: For the past three years, I’ve been helping to spread festive cheer across the nation as the driver of the Coca-Cola Christmas truck and I’m looking forward to getting back behind the wheel. It’s such an honour to play a role in getting the nation excited for Christmas – I think it is the best job in the world!


What kind of driving jobs did you do before you drove the Coca-Cola truck?

 Paul: I delivered parcels as a multidrop driver


What do you enjoy most about driving the Coca-Cola truck?

 Paul: Seeing visitors’ excitement when they catch sight of the truck for the first time is always very special. Often the adults are just as excited as the kids! I’ve also seen a few marriage proposals over the years – it’s great that Coca-Cola can add a sprinkle of Christmas magic to people’s special moments.


Do you have kids or young relatives? Is so, what do they think of what you do?

 Paul: I have two children who absolutely love the Coca-Cola truck and look forward to seeing it each Christmas. They love that their dad is the driver!


What differences are there from a technical or professional point of view between driving the Coca-Cola truck and driving any other truck? How is the job itself different?

 Paul: I’ve been driving trucks professionally for years, so have a lot of experience behind the wheel. The main difference is the attention you get in the Coca-Cola truck. It is such an iconic vehicle – I’ve grown used to people stopping and pointing when I’m on the road.


How did you find out about the job and what was the application process like?

 Paul: I was working for the company that owns the Coca-Cola Christmas truck when the chance to be the driver came up. To get behind the wheel of one of the most iconic trucks in the world was an incredible opportunity – I jumped at the chance!

 On this year’s tour we’re visiting 44 locations across the country. It’s fantastic to visit so many locations in the run up to Christmas, particularly in areas where the truck is stopping for the first time – the local community is always so excited!


What do you do the rest of the year?

 Paul: I work on fabricating promotional stands and vehicles – driving the truck is the highlight of my year!


What advice would you give to anyone thinking about training to be an HGV driver?

 Paul: Go for it! You never know – one day you might be driving the Coca-Cola Christmas truck!


So there you have it, an HGV job that brings joy to millions, delivering Christmas cheer all over the country. Of course, HGV drivers are vital to the smooth running of almost every company that produces things we rely on over Christmas and the rest of the year round, so there are always plenty of jobs available for dedicated and fully trained drivers who are ready to take to the road.

If you’re considering training, we may be able to help you pass in less than a week, and we can support you through finding work and beyond. Our courses start from just £9.99 per month, so call one of our friendly team now to find out if driving an HGV could be your road to success.

Thanks to Paul Reece-Jerrams and Katie O’Driscoll at Coca Cola UK.

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This post was written by Prath Kamat

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