If you like driving and love the open road you may have always wondered about how to become a lorry driver. well, you have come to the right place; the Home of learning – Specialised HGV Training to learn how to drive a lorry. This is a guide for those who are looking to start a new career in HGV/ haulage industry as an HGV driver. You should continue reading further if you have a genuine interest in either being an HGV driver or knowing about HGV driver training programme. The requirements are simple, you need to be 18+, have a Valid UK car licence (if you have a non-UK car licence, the first thing you need to do is get your licence transferred to the UK) & ready to work hard. This is not the alternate option for those who like office/desk jobs. 

The UK is currently over 50,000 HGV drivers short. So, if you’re looking to enter the logistics industry as an HGV driver, this is the golden time to make the most of it. The practical training only takes 5 days but the entire process from start to end will take around 8-10 weeks to get the licence in hand.

How to become a lorry driver

We at Specialised HGV Training have created this introductory guide so you have a clear idea what you need to do when you’re getting into the HGV industry. When you train with the right people it can be both fast and affordable, as well as giving you high-quality teaching and hands-on learning that can see you pass your test within weeks and hit the job market with an incredible number of new opportunities. If you don’t have a job in hand you can always contact our recruitment team for more help. 

 

What type of HGV licence should I get?

All lorry driving licences are not quite the same, because different vehicles have different weights. The differences between different licence categories are all about how much different vehicles weigh and how much additional weight they can pull if there is a trailer attached.

Here’s a breakdown of the main HGV categories you can choose from:

 

Cat C1+E

A Cat C1+E licence also allows you to drive vehicles weighing between 3,500kg and 7,500kg, but this time with a trailer weighing more than 750kg.

Cat C1

CAT C1 Licence

The smallest type of vehicle used for haulage is a Cat C1 vehicle, which weighs between 3,500kg and 7,500kg, with or without a trailer weighing up to 750kg.

Cat C

CAT C Licence

Getting your Cat C licence allows you to drive larger vehicles weighing over 3,500kg, and pulling a trailer weighing up to 750kg.

Cat C+E

CAT C+E Licence

The largest type of HGV vehicle you can drive weighs over 3,500kg, but with a trailer that can weigh more than 750kg, and that’s what you can drive with a Cat C+E licence.

 

 

Why take HGV training?

Training to drive an HGV is an investment in your future, and makes you infinitely more employable – not only in the UK but around Europe as well. Once you can legally drive a large vehicle professionally, you become more valuable to all kinds of employers either directly or via haulage companies.

 

Just think about all the businesses around Europe that need to transport their parts or goods from one place to another, and you’ll start to understand just how vital a job HGV driving is, why there are so many positions to fill, and why you can pick and choose your working situation to a great extent. In their latest survey, the Sun newspaper estimated that the UK is short of 45,000 HGV drivers

hgv driver shortage

 

The steps to getting your HGV licence

Getting your HGV licence is straightforward and consists of several clear and defined steps. Each of these is simple to get through with the right support and training. Our training programme covers them all. 

Medical test

Each professional driver must pass a medical exam as part of their training. This is to ensure you don’t have any medical conditions that could prevent you from being able to drive safely once you’ve passed your test. Medicals consist of a conversation with a doctor, and brief examination. Any qualified doctor can conduct this test and will need to fill in a  DVLA form as part of the process. The team at Specialised HGV will make sure that you are booked with a priority appointment with an approved GP near you. 

Theory test

Your theory test, just as with learning to drive a car, will take the form of multiple choice questions which you will need to answer on a screen in an official test centre. By the time you take your test, you should have taken many mock tests in your own time, using the training and resources provided to you by your training company. Our Theory booking team are experienced enough to guide you through each step of theory training and test. 

Free hgv theory test

Practical training

Once you finish your theory training and get the test results from the DVSA it’s time for you to get behind the wheel and start training. During this phase, you’ll be able to train in a real HGV vehicle with a DVSA certified and experienced instructor to give you the best possible chance of passing your practical test. Once you’re ready to take the practical test, you can get that booked in and – if you’ve trained well – pass it the first time. With Specialised HGV you get 2 FREE attempts to pass the practical test without any extra cost (this is only when you have opted in for our pass protection package, or else you have to pay for every extra DVSA test you want to book).

HGV Practical training centre

Driver CPC training

Once you’ve passed your practical exam and can legally drive an HGV, you may also need to take your Driver CPC test to drive professionally – if you don’t already have this as part of your licence. The Driver CPC stands for Certificate of Professional Competence and is a set of standards you need to be able to drive certain vehicles for a living. Once you have this, you’ll need to do a refresher course of 35 hours every 5 years to stay roadworthy.

 

How to know if HGV driving is for you

If you love to drive, want to travel around the UK or Europe, and don’t mind spending a lot of time on your own on the road, then HGV driving could well be for you. The best HGV drivers are focused and patient when driving, good at keeping all the required records and paperwork up to date, and can work independently to tackle problems like route changes, delays and bad weather.

If you possess all of these qualities, there’s the opportunity to gain experience and climb the career ladder, earning more and taking more control over your working life. In addition, you’ll have a job for as long as you want one (within the legal age limits of course) because of the number of drivers needed to keep the haulage industry moving. However, if you prefer to be office-based and to be around people all day, or you have trouble keeping your temper behind the wheel, being an HGV driver is probably not for you.

 

What you can expect from life as a lorry driver

There are several components to being an HGV driver, and the driving is only one of them.

 

As well as sitting behind the wheel and getting from A to B, you’ll also need to keep up-to-date paperwork about the loads you’re carrying, track your hours so you get the right amount of rest, change routes if you need to avoid accidents and delays, navigate bad weather and other unexpected hurdles, and liaise with people at the beginning and end of your journey to ensure the right things have been delivered. This is all on top of making timely safety checks of your vehicle to keep it roadworthy.

 

If you take on the kind of job that means travelling abroad, you’ll also need to ensure you comply with foreign road laws, carry the required paperwork, and be responsible for taking your cargo on ferries or trains to get from one country to another. And finally, for the most experienced drivers who want to earn the most money, you might need to learn how to safely transport hazardous materials, meaning you would take responsibility for keeping this cargo secure at all times during your journey through additional checks and procedures.

How much can you earn?

The salary for an HGV driver can range from £28,000 – £45,000 per year, depending on the type of vehicle you’re driving, where you’re driving, what sort of cargo you’re carrying and who you work for.

Driver hours are very strictly regulated because tiredness on the road can cause accidents, so you’ll most likely adhere to a strict rota which may include nights and days, may change from week to week, or maybe a straightforward daytime-only driving pattern.  As far as working hours are concerned, we have a special article which explained HGV drivers working hours in detail.

HGV Drivers working Hours

HGV Drivers working Hours

 

Legally there is a driving limit of 9 hours per day, but twice a week you may drive for 10 hours per day, for a maximum weekly driving time of 56 hours, or 90 hours in a fortnight. This can mean irregular shift patterns from one week to another. Every 4.5 hours you will need to take a 45-minute break, but you can also break up the  4.5 hours into shorter periods as well. If you do split your time this way, you can take an initial break of 15 minutes, then the second break of 30 minutes, but all after you’ve driven for a total of  4.5 hours. A daily rest period of 11 hours between daily drives is essential, although this can be broken up into a period of 3 hours and the second period of 9 hours to equal 12 hours in total. A total of 45 hours of rest must be taken by a driver each week, and you can’t work for more than 6 days without taking your weekly rest period.

While this might all sound complicated, in reality, you’ll see it reflected in your schedule. All you need to do is keep a track of the hours you’ve worked and the hours you’ve rested so you stick to the times your employers have given you.

 

What is Driver CPC and why do you need it?

Driver CPC training is an extra qualification that you’ll need if you want to drive professionally. This applies to bus and coach drivers as well as lorry drivers and covers a whole host of things that make the difference between a driver who can merely drive, and one who is an exceptional professional on the road. Its aim is to improve road safety and driver standards, and it’s applicable all across Europe.

 

To gain your Driver CPC you’ll need to take a multiple choice theory test and a hazard perception theory test, followed by a case study theory test. You’ll then need to take a driving ability test with practical demonstrations and safety questions, as well as off-road exercises. This is often known as the ‘show me tell me’ test because you’ll need to show and explain to the tester how you would do certain things.

 

As soon as you’ve gained this qualification, you’re on your way to being a professional HGV driver, all you need to do is find the perfect job – and there are a lot of them out there to choose from.

 

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