The start of a fresh year is often a time to re-evaluate and plan for the future. If that sounds familiar, you might be considering a career change for 2024. There are a wealth of reasons that HGV driving might be the right choice for you. Both as a complete change, or as an expansion of your skillset. With some really great benefits and straightforward training it’s easy to see why people explore this option.
Why HGV Driving?
Professional HGV driving covers several different categories, all of which require training and qualifications. To decide whether this career path is right for you, it’s crucial to understand what the benefits are and decide if these are priorities that you find important.
All you need to begin HGV training is a standard UK driving licence and to be over 18. Your training process can take as long or as short as you wish, with fast track course options to really speed things up. This means that you can enjoy the benefits sooner than in alternative career changes.
Perhaps you’re not thinking about a full career change. Many people undertake HGV driver training to expand their skillset in existing logistics roles. This is a great way to open doors within your current industry and increase your potential for the future.
There continues to be significant demand for HGV drivers across the UK and Europe. This means that you can be confident that you will not be looking for work for long after you qualify.
Once you’ve qualified, you may secure a role with one employer. Alternatively you may work for different organisations. This means that you can have more control over your working patterns, for example scheduling in periods of time not working.
High Earning Potential
Even the more basic HGV driving qualifications can begin at £32,000 per year. This means that you will enjoy financial benefits from the moment that you qualify as a professional driver. For higher driving category entitlements, you can expect an even larger the salary.
Varied Working Days
There are many different sides to the logistics industry, and HGV driving allows you to have different experiences each day. It is an ideal career choice for those who enjoy variety and the potential for travel.
Scope to Develop
From your initial driver qualification, you can continue training and specialise further to demand more expert driving roles. These include HIAB (Hydraulic Integrated Arm and Boom) and ADR (transporting dangerous goods) licences.
How to do it
So if all of these benefits leave you thinking that professional HGV driving could be the change that you need, how do you go about it? The process is actually incredibly straightforward, and established driving schools can assist with many aspects of it.
The Training Process
When you enrol with an established HGV driving school, their advisors can help you through the process as you apply for your provisional licence, decide on your course, and book the CPC required tests.
The first thing is to apply for your provisional HGV driving licence, which does not require a fee. To do this, you will need to fill in forms D2 and D4. Form D4 is medical and commonly completed by a doctor or can be managed privately through your training firm. Form D2 is the basic licence application form which covers the classification of vehicle that you wish to train to drive.
Licence and Course Categories
When selecting which class of vehicle to apply to add to your provisional licence, try to maintain flexibility. It’s better to choose a higher level category so that you have the potential to drive a wider range of vehicles. The categories that are on a UK driving licence are:
- C1 – This is a rigid bodied vehicle between 3,500kg – 7,500kg maximum authorised mass (MAM), plus a trailer up to 750kg.
- C – Any rigid body vehicle over 3,500 kg plus a trailer up to 750kg.
- C1E – Like C1 but with an increased trailing allowance to loads over 750kg. However, the combined MAM must not exceed 12000kg
- CE – As per category C but an extended towing capacity beyond 750kg. This is the highest level class for HGV drivers without specialist qualifications.
HGV driving courses tend to be engineered toward specific driving categories. So this should be your main guide about which to choose. However, it is important to remember that the higher classifications of vehicle automatically entitle you to drive smaller vehicles. For example, if you qualify as a C+E driver, you will automatically be entitled to drive C, C1 and C1+E vehicles too.
The CPC is the legal requirement and testing framework for all professional HGV drivers. It is an ongoing qualification which you must keep valid by undertaking 35 hours of periodic training every 5 years. The initial test is broken down into 5 parts:
- 1. Theory – You can begin studying for your theory test before you even receive your provisional licence. When you pass, your certificate is valid for 2 years.
- 2. Case studies – This is a second theory element. You then have 2 years to complete the practical tests.
- 3a. Off road exercises – You must have passed part 2 before you can take this test. It entails around 30 minutes of manoeuvring your HGV vehicle.
- 3b. On road driving – You must have passed part 3a before taking this test. After answering safety questions about your vehicle, you’ll undertake around an hour of driving.
- 4. Practical demonstration – This covers 5 areas of the CPC syllabus and is the most intensive test. After you have had plenty of practice with a reputable HGV driving school, you can approach this part of the test with confidence.
Embarking on a new challenge or a change of direction can feel daunting. We understand that, and so our services include dedicated co-ordinators and advisors who will see you through the whole process from initial training to job applications. To find out more and lay down the path into your future, contact us now!