Sometimes, getting the ideal job means dedicating some extra time to training and certification. That’s certainly the case if your idea of the perfect career involves sitting behind the wheel of a truck or lorry. In order to handle larger vehicles, truck drivers need to prove their skills by obtaining an HGV/LGV license. Fortunately, once you have this license, you’ll be able to explore a range of roles.
Currently, the UK and Europe are facing a huge shortage in the number of skilled HGV/LGV professionals available on the roads. This means if you gain your certification, you’ll have a lot of job opportunities available to you.
So how do you know if HGV/LGV driving is right for you, and what sort of careers can you consider with this kind of training?
How do You Know if HGV/LGV Driving is Right for You?
Before you start exploring possible career opportunities, you might want to double-check that this kind of role suits you and your lifestyle. A career driving a truck or lorry will usually be a good choice for people who like spending time on the road and exploring new places.
If you appreciate the idea of being able to travel around the UK and Europe while earning a decent income, then it’s worth getting your HGV/LGV license. These roles are also more likely to apply to people who don’t mind spending a lot of time by themselves. You may need to stay away from home for a few nights if you’re transporting goods to different countries, and you won’t have a lot of people to chat to on the road.
The best HGV/LGV drivers are focused, patient, and dedicated to their roles. They know how to keep their paperwork up to date, and how to deal with problems like delays, route changes, and bad weather. While HGV/LGV driving can be challenging, it’s also highly rewarding.
Common Types of HGV/LGV Licence Roles
A career as an HGV/LGV driver is about more than just getting from A to B. You’ll also need to keep up with documentation and caring for the loads you’re carrying. You’ll be responsible for tracking your hours and making sure you stay safe on the road too. The further you travel in your large vehicle, the more work you’ll need to do when it comes to keeping up with foreign road laws.
Most HGV/LGV roles will fall into one of three categories:
As a local HGV/LGV driver, you’ll be responsible for transporting goods in a local or regional area. This means you don’t travel to different countries when you’re on the clock. Local drivers don’t get to explore as many new destinations, but they do have the opportunity to come home at the end of the day, rather than staying in a hotel.
As a local driver, you can get involved with everything from dry freight hauling, where you move pallets across country, to flatbed hauling, where you deal with complex open-air machinery. You may also find roles in hauling tankers and refrigerated assets, but these will often require a higher level of skill, as the loads can be quite complex.
Short-haul drivers with an HGV/LGV certificate will drive a little further than their local counterparts, but they still don’t spend too much time jumping between different countries. You’re not likely to travel overseas as a short-haul driver, but you may visit locations around the UK and Europe.
Short haul drivers are less likely to get involved with things like refrigerated hauling and hot-shot hauling, where you need to deliver an item to a location as quickly as possible. However, you may be involved with various kinds of freight, tanker, and flatbed hauling. As a freight hauler, you can work with everything from “dry materials” like boxes, to liquids and hazardous materials.
Long-haul drivers with an HGV/LGV license are the ones that go on the most adventures. Long-haul drivers can deal with everything from transporting vehicles across countries, to making sure important supplies get across seas. As a long-haul driver, you’ll spend multiple nights, and even weeks away from home, often sleeping in hotels as you move through your route.
Long-haul driving will often require a lot more preparation than short-haul or local driving. You’ll need to keep up-to-date with road laws in all the locations you visit, and make sure you follow any guidelines on how to haul your goods safely.
What Kind of HGV/LGV License do You Need?
The kind of vehicle you drive as a long-haul, short-haul or local driver will depend on the category of license you have. There are multiple kinds of certification available, starting with the Cat C and going all the way up to Cat C+E:
- Cat C1: This license allows you to drive a truck weighing between 3,500 and 7,500kg with a trailer weighing up to 750kg.
- Cat C1+ E: This license allows driving a truck between 3,500 and 7,500kg, with a trailer of over 750kg.
- Cat C: With this license, you can drive larger vehicles weighing over 3500kg with a trailer weighing up to 750kg.
- Cat C+E: This license allows for driving vehicles over 3500kg with a trailer weighing over 750kg.
In some cases, you may also need to get additional certifications like your “Certificate of Professional Competence”. This is usually the case when you need to drive complex vehicles, like refrigerated trucks, or auto hauling vehicles.
How Much Can You Earn with an HGV/LGV License?
Many drivers with an HGV/LGV license can earn a decent amount of cash, usually upwards of £14 per hour. The amount you earn will depend on how far you travel in your career, and what kind of vehicle you’re driving. If you’re operating a vehicle which requires a lot of skill, you can usually earn more. For instance, auto haulers responsible for getting cars to their new lots can usually earn more than a standard dry freight hauler. You can even earn cash after you’re done with driving, by considering a career as a HGV/LGV training instructor.
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