Clear advice for HGV training and careers in HGV driving

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    Our mission is to cut through the clutter of the often daunting world of HGV training. We want to empower YOU, so you have the facts for you to make the best decision for YOUR circumstances. Whatever you need, we’re here to help.

    Whether you are a complete beginner, looking to upgrade your HGV licence or searching for CPC training, we are here to help. We provide the insider track on everything HGV training related. You may be wondering where you can train? How long does HGV Training take? How much does it cost to train as an HGV driver? Who should you book training with, and what should you expect? We are here to help inform and guide you through the process.

    What stage of your HGV journey are you on?

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    Are you a beginner and need to know where to start?

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    Are you looking to upgrade your licence?

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    Already have a licence and looking for CPC training?

    Considering a career as a HGV driver?

    When first setting out, most people have a lot of good questions about everything from how to get started, to find a job, and every step in between. We are here to provide useful information and helpful steps to guide you through your HGV training journey, while avoiding any pitfalls.

    The most important thing when starting out, is to understand your options when choosing a training provider. This is an investment in your future so make sure you choose the right company for you.

    There are providers out there who have less reputable backgrounds, so make sure you look into the company before signing up. Make sure the training provider is an established company in a good financial position. Companies House is a good place to check on a company’s background; just search for their company name and check on how recently it was set up, and what their history looks like.

    Look at Google reviews for fair, unbiased reviews from people who have trained with them. And compare costs – making sure you understand exactly what is included.

    Also check your provider is a member with the RHA And / or the FTA, both of whom are important industry bodies in haulage and logistics. This will ensure you have found a legitimate and accredited HGV training provider.

    Costs vary by location and licence, but we have found cost is typically around £1500 for an entry-level Category C licence. CPC is also dependent on location and school, but on average around £350.

    If you don’t have the savings to fund this, beware of HGV Training providers offering credit as this can add thousands of pounds to the cost of training. It is sometimes worth considering your own financial position, a credit card can be a cheaper way to borrow the funds for training.

    Some providers may be able to split the payments, making it more affordable for you to train.

    If you are flexible on location and training, you can train in as little as 4 days. You will always have to wait for the DVLA to process your application and the test centre’s forms so the minimum to expect is around 3 weeks. At the moment, due to the impact of covid on the industry, these times may be affected.

    Pass rates for the HGV test vary depending on time of year, location and attempt number. You can vastly increase your chances by choosing the right provider. Ask what the training school’s pass rate is.

    Your test will usually last 90 minutes, and will include a number of manoeuvres, such as reversing into a loading bay, parallel parking or following signs without specific instructions – for example you will asked to drive to a locations using road signs and markings rather than prompts from the examiner. Your instructor will always take you through this on day 1 of training.

    Some providers offer products which protect you if you are concerned or worried about not passing the first time, so it is worth considering a little extra outlay, if it gives you peace of mind when taking your test.

    Don’t forget, before you get in the truck, you’ll need to get your medical, provisional and theory test. A good national provider should take care of these for you.

    With so many HGV driver vacancies, job security is very high in HGV training.

    Wages are also excellent when compared with other jobs, and there is a lot of freedom with the opportunity to pick and choose contracts, locations and what is involved in the job. Setting your own terms is another of the key benefits of becoming an HGV driver.

    In addition, you can train to be an HGV driver in a matter of weeks, whereas other trade jobs can take years – a plumber, for instance takes 3 years training.

    People often list being on the open road, listening to whatever music or radio they like and seeing different parts of the country as their favourite parts of the job.

    A newly qualified driver can earn up to £27,000 per year, with earning potential for more experienced drivers of up to £45,000.

    There are several terms you may hear when looking into HGV licences.

    Category C (Cat C) is also known as Class 2, and includes any rigid body vehicle. The Category C licence is one of the most frequently sought-after licences that recruiters and haulage firms look for from candidates. It can be considered the entry level HGV Licence, as it is easy to train for, and the fastest route to get driving an HGV.

    The Category C+E is also known as an ‘Artic,’ Class 1 or Wagon and drag. It is popular for national and international distribution and has a higher earning potential, with fewer drops.

    Make sure you fully discuss and understand your choices when it comes to HGV licences and what they entail – there are different benefits to each, and a good provider should discuss these with you before taking any payment.

    HGV Driving hours were originally based on EU regulations, but they’ve now been converted to British law. The UK HGV driver may now work the following hours:

    • There is a 9-hour limit on driving per day. 2 days a week, 10 hours per day is allowed.
    • The maximum weekly quota is set at 56 hours

    You can drive an HGV as soon as you’ve passed all your tests and taken your Driver CPC, even before the card arrives.

    You should get your photo ID card within 20 days of passing your HGV test.

    LGV stands for Large goods Vehicle and HGV stands for Heavy Goods Vehicle, and there is no difference between the LGV and HGV licences under current UK legislation (and EU law); They are the same licence, and both cover any truck over 3.5 tonnes.

    In 1992, the meaning of LGV changed from Light goods vehicle, to large goods vehicle, which is where some of the confusion arises. If you would like more information on this, a good training provider will explain all of the different licences available and what is entailed in each.

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    Are you looking to upgrade your HGV licence?

    Already have your licence but looking to upgrade? There are many options available, whether you are returning after a period away, or looking to increase your earning potential. You may already have your Cat C licence but are looking to earn more money or move companies. Upgrading your licence opens more doors, and allows you to choose from a wider range of available jobs.

    The Category C+E licence otherwise known as an ‘Artic’ Class 1, CE, or Wagon and drag, is the HGV category that enables you to drive a vehicle over 3500kg and a trailer over 750kg. The C+E licence replaced the ‘Class 1’ licence in 1997, and is now commonly referred to as both.

    The C+E licence is popular for national and international distribution and has a greater earning potential, with generally fewer drop offs and longer distances.

    The earning potential for C+E drivers is excellent and why a lot of drivers are drawn to the licence; with people frequently earning in excess of £40k.

    Much like other training, this depends on the quality of the provider, location, speed of training, and time of year. The national average is around £1500. It is widely accepted that this quickly pays for itself, with the higher earning potential – experienced C+E drivers can expect in the region of £45k.

    You can train to drive a C+E vehicle in as little as 4 days. You will always have to wait for the DVLA to process your application and the test centre’s forms so the minimum timeframe to expect is around 3 weeks. At the moment, due to the impact of covid on the industry, these times may be affected.

    The C+E licence (also known as Class 1, Artic, LGV 1, or CE licence) is a follow-on qualification to the Category C licence. In order to train for a C+E or Class 1, you must have previously qualified for the Cat C, or Class 2 licence.

    If you are just starting out but keen to maximise your earning potential, HGV training providers will sometimes offer the ability to take your Cat C and Cat C+E courses “back-to-Back,” meaning you can progress quickly through the ranks to earn the highest salary. Ask if the HGV training provider can offer this, when speaking to them.

    Because the C+E licence is popular for national and international distribution, it can have a greater earning potential, with generally fewer drop offs and longer distances.

    The earning potential for C+E drivers is excellent and why a lot of Cat C drivers progress quickly to the licence; with drivers frequently earning in excess of £40k.

    It can seem like there is a lot of jargon in the HGV world, but actually the licence types are quite simple. For starters, HGV and LGV licences are the same thing.

    Class 2 licence is the entry level licence, allowing you to drive a Cat C vehicle over 3500kgs, commonly known as a “Rigid”.

    The Class 1 licence allows you to drive a Cat C+E vehicle, commonly known as an Arctic (articulated lorry) or wagon and drag.

    HGV Driving hours were originally based on EU regulations, and they’ve now been converted to British law. The UK HGV driver may now work the following hours:

    • There is a 9-hour limit on driving per day. 2 days a week, 10 hours per day is allowed.
    • The maximum weekly quota is set at 56 hours

    Some drivers like to obtain their Class 2 (or Cat C) first, then take their Class 1 (Cat C+E) straight after. If this is something you are interested in, ask your provider about how this works. Be sure you understand everything that is included, as it can save you time and money if you book them together.

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    Already have a licence and looking for CPC training?

    Whether you are starting out and unsure about Driver CPC, or already have your licence and are looking to renew your periodic CPC, understanding your options is important. The CPC qualification is a legal requirement for anyone looking to drive commercially, in addition to their licence. It ensures that the driver is up to date with all health, safety and legal requirements and is taken in a classroom environment or online, with no test afterwards.

    The cost of the Period CPC qualification is dependent on location and school, but we have found the national average to be approximately £350.

    The CPC qualification is a legal requirement for anyone looking to drive commercially, in addition to their licence. It ensures that the driver is up to date with all health, safety and legal requirements and is taken in a classroom environment or online, with no test afterwards.

    After you have taken your ‘Initial CPC’ qualification, you will need to complete your periodic CPC qualification every 5 years. This amounts to 7 years ‘Classroom’ or ‘remote classroom’ training every year, or 35 hours training in total, over 5 years.

    It is the driver’s responsibility to ensure it is done and your licence will be invalid until these hours are done.

    Since Covid social distancing measures were introduced, a lot of CPC training is now delivered remotely. This has been well received by HGV drivers, who have enjoyed taking the course from their own homes.

    If you are just starting out, and looking to drive an HGV commercially, you will need to take your Initial CPC Qualification.

    After you have taken your ‘Initial CPC’ qualification, you will need to complete your periodic CPC qualification every 5 years. This amounts to 7 years ‘Classroom’ or ‘remote classroom’ training every year, or 35 hours training in total, over 5 years.

    Some exemptions apply:

    • If you passed your car test before Jan 1997, you will have ‘Grandfather rights’ and do not need a CPC qualification to drive a Class 1 vehicle.
    • If you passed a Cat C1, Cat C or C+E test before Sept 2009, you also will not need to take the CPC qualification to drive.
    • If you are driving for personal use, such as driving a horsebox, you do not need a CPC qualification.
    • The gov.uk website outlines all situations where you may be exempt

    You’ll get your DCPC (Driver Certificate of Professional Competence) when you have completed your training. You have to carry this card with you while HGV driving professionally, and you have to replace your card if it is stolen or lost. You can be fined up to £1000, if you drive professionally without Driver CPC.

    Make sure you update your address with the DVLA if you move to a new house, as new / replacement cards will be sent to the address they have on record.

    You can still drive professionally if you’re waiting for your new CPC card to arrive after you’ve completed your periodic training.

    After you have taken your ‘Initial CPC’ qualification, most professional drivers will need to complete their periodic CPC every 5 years.

    Some exemptions for CPC apply, so make sure you check your circumstances with your training provider before booking. Some exemptions include

    • If you passed your car test before Jan 1997, you will have ‘Grandfather rights’ and do not need a CPC qualification to drive a Class 1 vehicle.
    • If you passed a Cat C1, Cat C or C+E test before Sept 2009, you also will not need to take the CPC qualification to drive.
    • If you are driving for personal use, such as driving a horsebox, you do not need a CPC qualification.
    • If you are carrying material or equipment you need for your work, so long as driving is no greater than “30% of your rolling monthly working time.”

    If you are driving for personal use (“non-commercial carriage of passengers or goods”) such as driving a horsebox, you will not need a CPC qualification.

    After you have taken your ‘Initial CPC’ qualification, you will need to complete your periodic CPC. This amounts to 7 years training every year, or 35 hours training in total, over 5 years.

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    Why use us

    We’re a group of HGV industry insiders, who wanted to create an HGV training information hub, to provide clear and transparent guidance for HGV drivers at any stage of their journey.

    Whether you’re just setting out, or you’re already an HGV driver and are looking to upgrade your licence, we provide useful, non-jargony information, so you can progress your career.

    If you wish to discuss any aspect of HGV training or take the hassle out of finding the best value HGV Training.
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