As the year comes to a close, many people start to think about what changes they may wish to make for next year. You might consider a personal challenge, a lifestyle shift, or a career change. If it’s the last one, there are a huge number of reasons that training to be an HGV driver could be the right path for you. We’ll look at the practical steps to take in order to gain an HGV qualification, as well as the benefits to this career choice.
The Training Process
To begin training to drive HGVs, all you need is a full UK driving licence and to be over 18. When you enrol with an established HGV driving school, they can help you to navigate the process as you apply for your provisional licence, decide on your course, and book the CPC required tests.
As part of your provisional licence application, you will need to fill in forms D2 and D4. Form D4 is a medical form and is normally filled in by a doctor. However, there are occasions where this can be managed by a private firm. Form D2 is the basic licence application form, so you will need to have decided which vehicle category you wish to apply to drive. When you return the forms with your photocard driving licence, there is no additional fee to be paid.
There are a few different HGV categories. When you choose which to apply to add to your provisional licence, try to think ahead about what vehicles you may drive in the future. It’s better to choose a higher level category so that you have the flexibility to drive a wider range of vehicles. The categories that you will see on your licence are:
- C1 – Entitled to drive a rigid bodied vehicle between 3,500kg – 7,500kg maximum authorised mass (MAM). This includes a trailer up to 750kg.
- C – Entitled to drive any rigid body vehicle over 3,500 kg plus a trailer up to 750kg.
- C1E – This category extends the trailing allowance of C1 to loads over 750kg. However, the combined MAM must not exceed 12000kg
- CE – This extends the towing capacity of the C licence entitlement beyond 750kg. It is the highest level category for HGV drivers before you move into specialist qualifications.
You can choose a professional driving course that is engineered to each of the categories above. It is important to remember that when you train to achieve a greater capacity category, you will automatically be entitled to drive smaller vehicles. So, if you enrol on and pass a C+E driving course, you will automatically be entitled to drive C, C1 and C1+E vehicles too.
This is a huge part of becoming a professional HGV driver. CPC training and qualification is a legal requirement for all professional HGV drivers in the UK. It is an ongoing condition which you must keep valid by undertaking 35 hours of periodic training every 5 years. The initial qualification is broken down into 5 parts that form your professional HGV driving tests.
These are the parts to the initial driver CPC qualification.
- 1. Theory – The initial step, you can begin studying before you receive your provisional licence. Your pass certificate is valid for 2 years.
- 2. Case studies – Again, you have 2 years to complete the remaining tests after this additional theory based test.
- 3a. Off road exercises – This test lasts around 30 minutes and you must have passed part 2 before you can take this test.
- 3b. On road driving – You must have passed part 3a before taking this test. It will entail safety questions and around an hour of driving.
- 4. Practical demonstration – This is the most intensive test and covers 5 areas of the CPC syllabus. Make sure that you have had plenty of practice before taking this final test.
Benefits of HGV driving
While it’s important to familiarise yourself with the process that you will need to undertake for a New Year career in HGV driving, equally as important are the reasons why you’d want to do it in the first place.
Fast track training
With fast track course options, you can begin your professional HGV driving career relatively quickly. This means that you can enjoy the benefits sooner than in any other career change.
High earning potential
With driving jobs starting at over £32,000 per year, you will enjoy financial benefits from the moment that you qualify as a professional HGV driver. The higher your driving category entitlement, the larger the salary that you will be able to demand.
Varied working days
With no two days the same, HGV driving is ideal for those who thrive on variety. You’ll meet lots of different people, experience different sides of the logistics industry, and also have the potential for travel.
Scope to develop
Your initial driver qualification can just be the start. There are specialisms within the driving industry which you can move on and train in. These include HIAB (Hydraulic Integrated Arm and Boom) and ADR (transporting dangerous goods) licences.
With significant demand for HGV drivers across the UK and Europe, you can rest in the knowledge that you will not be looking for work for long once you qualify.
Some drivers work for multiple organisations. This allows them to have control over their working periods, so they can schedule in periods of time not working in order to balance life.
Returning to HGV driving
If you are considering a return to HGV driving after a period of time away from the industry, the process is slightly different. You will simply need to renew your licence, and then undertake 35 hours of training or take parts 2 and 4 of the Driver CPC tests. This will bring you up to date with your CPC requirements. You can then continue to take periodic training of 35 hours every 5 years to remain qualified.
At Surrey and Hampshire HGV Training, we offer packages that manage the whole training process for you. From booking tests to help filling out forms to pass protection should you need to retake any modules. To find out how to kick start your career change, just get in touch.
Get an instant quote
Trust us for local, affordable HGV training.