How to become an HGV driver?
- To become an HGV driver you need to be over 18 years old (at few circumstances, this may rise to over 21, for insurance purposes) and hold a full UK driving license.
- You can gain the additional qualifications you need by doing specified training courses. Some companies may offer HGV driver training as part of an apprenticeship.
- If you already have some experience, you may be able to apply directly to an employer for work.
- You may need Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) card to work on a construction site.
You will have to attend a specialist training provider to gain the correct qualifications and experience to gain your HGV license. Your HGV driving license test has two parts:
- Category C1 allows you to drive rigid vehicles up to 7.5 tones.
- Category C allows you to drive rigid vehicles over 7.5 tones.
For each of these you need to write a theory test, a practical test, show a good understanding of road safety and demonstrate how to load and unload your HGV safely. You need to have eyesight and medical assessments to get your license. You won’t always need formal qualifications. Once you are newly qualified you need to apply for a Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (also known as a Driver CPC) in order to work.
What does an HGV driver do?
As an HGV driver you will be responsible for the safe transportation of goods around the country, or even overseas. The job role of an HGV driver includes the following duties:
- Operating commercial vehicles up to and over 7.5 tones, including rigid trucks, articulated lorries, tankers, transporters and trailer wagons
- Driving long or short distances
- Planning delivery schedules and routes with transport managers
- Supervising or helping to load and unload goods
- Lifting and carrying goods
- Making sure loads are safely secured
- Following traffic reports and adapting routes if necessary
- Completing delivery paperwork
- Keeping up-to-date logbooks
- Carrying out basic routine maintenance, such as oil, tyre and brake checks
- Working from a vehicle and driving long distances in a cramped space
- Spending nights away from home during long haul deliveries.
Additional skills which may benefit anyone considering a job as an HGV driver include:
- Customer service and administration skills
- Be thorough and pay attention to detail
- Patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
- Able to accept criticism and work well under pressure
- Able to use a computer and the main software packages competently
- Able to operate and control equipment
Career path and progression
You could gain more licenses to pull trailers or transport hazardous substances. Some HGV drivers become transport managers, planners, freight operators or logistics and plant manager. You could earn a higher salary in a more senior position. You could move into teaching and become an HGV instructor.
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