The National Career Service says that becoming an LGV driver might be a good career choice if you “enjoy working by yourself, want a job that makes use of your driving skills and one that can take you all over the country.” We would not disagree with that assessment. In fact, we believe professional lorry driving is one of the most under-appreciated career choices in the UK. Few people realise how essential LGVs and HGVs are to keeping our economy moving. Even fewer appreciate the dedication and hard work of those drivers who make it possible for us to enjoy a modern lifestyle.
We assume you have visited our website today because you are thinking about a career as an LGV driver. To that end, we want to provide you with some essential information you might need to make your choice. While it is true that professional driving is an excellent career choice for the tens of thousands of professional drivers already employed, it is certainly not the right career for everyone. We want you to fully understand what professional driving is about before you invest the time and money in training.
As explained by the National Career Service, LGV drivers operate the commercial vehicles that transport raw materials and finished goods all across the country. And because the UK is a collection of islands, a fair number of those professional drivers based in the UK also have the opportunity to travel throughout Western Europe transporting both imports and exports. Where you would travel as a driver would depend on the company you work for.
There are four kinds of jobs the average LGV driver would consider applying for:
The average LGV driver earns a very good living based either on salary or miles driven. Companies structure their pay according to their own policies. Be advised you may have to negotiate your pay depending on the job you take, but your negotiating power will grow as you put more miles under your wheels.
Many of our new students are completely unaware that becoming an LGV driver involves choosing both vehicle and licence classes. In other words, there is no single LGV licence applicable to every driver and every vehicle. There are actually four to choose from.
The lightest commercial vehicles weigh between 3.5 and 7.5 tonnes MAM (maximum authorised mass) and do not involve towing a trailer. These are vehicles such as transit vans and light box trucks. You only need a Category C1 licence for jobs involving these kinds of LGVs. If the vehicles an employer uses are on the heavier end of that scale and involve trailer towing, a Category C1+E licence will be required.
While we offer training for both of these lower-class licences, most of our students train for the Category C licence. This is the licencing you will need to drive an articulated lorry, bin lorry, tipper truck, or heavy box truck. The licence is intended for vehicles in excess of 7.5 tonnes MAM.
Lastly, the largest vehicles an LGV driver may be asked to drive require a Category C+E licence. This is a licence that makes you eligible to operate vehicles heavier than 7.5 tonnes with trailers in excess of 750 kg. It is really intended for the largest oversized vehicles on the road. As an added bonus, a person who holds this licence is also eligible to drive vehicles belonging to the lower categories.
We advise students to choose the licence category they want to obtain before training starts. There is no point in training for a Category C1 licence if you intend to drive Category C vehicles. For most of our students, the Category C is the most practical. It gives the successful student a broad range of employment options upon completion of training.
In 2009, the UK adopted the Driver CPC requirements implemented throughout the EU. As such, your career as an LGV driver will include obtaining CPC certification and renewing that certification once every five years. Although plenty of veteran drivers were upset when the programme was implemented a few years back, there is nothing that can be done about it. New drivers might just as well put their efforts into meeting the requirements.
When you begin your training to be an LGV driver, CPC training will be included in your programme. You will not have to do anything special to obtain your initial CPC card. Just by completing your training and passing all of your tests, you will be automatically CPC certified for five years. Things change from that point forward.
Regulations require professional drivers to undergo a total of 35 hours of additional Driver CPC training every five years. Upon completion of that training, the LGV driver can renew his or her CPC card for another five years. A failure to complete training would mean disqualification once the current card expires.
We should note that the five-year qualification is based on calendar years, NOT the date you earned your initial CPC card. In other words, drivers who complete their training and obtain a licence in 2015 are given a card valid through until 31 Dec 2020. An LGV driver can meet the 35-hour training requirement at any point between now and then. All that is required is that the 35 hours of training be finished before the end of 2020.
We have done our best to give you all the basics of the LGV driving career. If we have failed to answer any of your questions, we would appreciate the opportunity to speak with you in person. We believe it is well worth looking into becoming an LGV driver whether you are young and just embarking on your career, or you are an older worker starting over due to redundancy or your desire to do something different.
The HGV Training Centre offers LGV driver training at more than four dozen facilities around the country. Our training is fast, effective, and affordable. We even offer a financing option through our partner, Pay 4 Later. Be sure to ask about it when you contact us.
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