Your Life as a Class 1 HGV Driver

Posted on 12th August 2020 By Charlotte Haye

HGV training might sound like a simple thing, but the reality is there are a lot of different choices to make. The first of those is which kind of licence you want to hold. We’ve talked a lot before about the basic kinds of licences you can study for, but we’ve never really touched on the top licence – the Class 1. The Class 1 licence takes some time and dedication to achieve, so before you dive right in, why not take some time to understand what it is, and the rewards of earning one.


What Does A Class 1 Licence Let You Drive?

When it comes to HGV licences, you have a lot of different options to choose from – and each one entitles you to drive a different level of vehicle, in a different setting. So knowing what each licence means is an important step to take before you start training. The Class 1 licence isn’t a basic licence – in fact, it’s basically the top tier licence available.

In order to even train for a Class 1 license, you’ll need to already have your Class 2 HGV licence (otherwise known as a Cat C). There is no minimum level of experience you need – just your Class 2. Once you have this, you can train for your Class 1, which will let you drive any vehicle that weighs over 7.5 tonnes, and those that have a separate detachable trailer. Because this licence allows you to drive some of the largest vehicles on the road, a Class 1 licence will give you access to the widest variety of jobs later down the line.


What Will You Have To Do?

The first, and most obvious answer to this question is: drive your HGV. That sort of goes with the territory of being a HGV driver really! But what you might not realise is that there are a lot of other things involved in being a Class 1 HGV driver – tasks you will have to do on a daily basis that have nothing to do with being behind the wheel. These include:

  • The planning of delivery routes to ensure optimum efficiency
  • Ensuring all goods to be transported are safe and secure
  • Supervision of loading and unloading goods
  • Coordinating deliveries and communicating with customers about pick up and drop off
  • Conducting regular ‘walk around’ inspections to ensure regulation compliance
  • Vehicle maintenance to ensure your HGV is roadworthy
  • Communicating with customers and asking questions

So, as well as being a competent driver, you will also need:

  • Good communication skills
  • Great organisation
  • Patience and understanding
  • Mechanical maintenance skills
  • The ability to manage stress effectively

So I think it’s safe to say, there


Is There A Career Progression?

Given that the Class 1 licence is basically the top of the pile, you might be asking yourself if there is any real career progression from there. Or is it just the ceiling in the HGV driver world? Well, the good news is, there is still somewhere to go from being a Class 1 HGV driver. For example, you can train for some of the licence enhancements available, to upgrade your existing licence and open up more doors for you. Just a few examples of licence enhancements include:


HIAB Training: HIAB stands for Hydrauliska Industri AB – shortened to HIAB, and this licence allows you to drive and operate any type of lorry loader crane. Because this is an enhancement, you can do this training in as little as 2-3 days, and it can help boost your earnings to £22K – £31K, depending on where in the country you’re working.

ADR Enhancement: The ADR Enhancement allows any HGV driver with a Class 1 license to transport hazardous goods across Europe. This can open up a lot of opportunities for drivers, as this kind of license is in high demand. With the ADR Enhancement, you can transport:

  • Flammable substances
  • Toxic substances
  • Corrosive and highly corrosive substances
  • Explosives
  • Radioactive materials

And more. There is a specific training course for this licence, and it opens up the prospect of you earning anywhere between £32K and £40K as a driver.


How Can You Find A Job As A Class 1 Driver?

The good news there is, there is always work out there for a Class 1 HGV driver. There has been a general driver shortage in the UK for several years now, and highly qualified drivers are much harder to come by. Finding a job can be as simple as just using some of the popular online portals, like Totaljobs, Monster and Indeed, or you can opt for a more specialised searching service – though some of these tend to come with a fee.


Of you could talk to us. As a HGV driver training school, we have connections with a lot of companies looking to hire HGV drivers, and can put you ahead of other drivers when applying. We can even help you revamp your CV, to give you the best chance of landing your next dream job. If you would like to know more, just get in touch with us today.

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