Tags: Driving, driving, career-guidance-driving...

If you like driving and love the freedom of being out on the open road, you may have considered a career in haulage and transport. With the UK currently experiencing a national driver shortage and professional HGV drivers in high demand, it is a great time to become a driver and benefit from increased job opportunities and competitive pay.  

For those looking to start their career as a HGV driver, please read our advice below on how to get your HGV licence. You will need to be age 18+, have a valid UK car licence, and have a passion for driving. 

What type of HGV licences are available?

Each vehicle you drive will have a different weight and capability to carry added weight up to a certain threshold. The weight of the vehicle determines the licence type, as you will need to be trained to operate a vehicle of that size. Here is a list of the main HGV categories:

Cat C1

A Cat C1 vehicle weighs between 3,500kg – 7,500kg, with the option to add a trailer weighing up to 750kg - this is the smallest type of vehicle used for haulage. 

Cat C1+E

A Cat c1+E licence will allow you to drive vehicles weighing 3,500kg – 7,500kg, with a trailer weighing more than 750kg and a combined gross weight of no more than 12t.

Cat C

A CatC licence will allow you to drive larger vehicles weighing over 7,500kg and pull a trailer weight of up to 750kg.

Cat C+E

As the largest type of HGV, this vehicle weighs over 7,500kg, plus a trailer that can weigh more than 750kg.

HGV Training: What is included as part of the HGV training?

HGV training is made up of 5 modules, starting with the medical test and ending with the CPC certification. The modules should be completed in the same order as listed below.

Medical Test

As part of your training, each professional driver must pass the medical exam to ensure you do not have any medical conditions that could prevent you from being able to drive safely. Medicals consist of a conversation with your doctor and an examination, and a DVLA will be completed as part of the process.

You may receive more guidance and help with booking your medical test from your HGV training provider, or you can read our guide on everything you need to know regarding a HGV medical. 

Theory Tests

You cannot begin practical skills training as an LGV driver until you first take and pass the theory test. The theory test is made up of two sections which are known as Module 1 Part A and Part B. You will be required to complete a theory test in the form of multiple-choice questions (part A), and a series of hazard perception questions (part B) at an official test centre to gain fundamental knowledge of how to operate a large vehicle safely.

In preparation for your theory test, we recommend you take mock tests beforehand. 

Case Studies

This module (Module 2) aims to test your knowledge and put your theory into practice. Questions are based around case studies, and you will be asked to answer in various ways, for example, multiple-choice answers, clicking an area on an image, or typing a short answer.

You are allowed 90 minutes to complete the test, and it will be held at the same centre as your theory tests. 

Practical Training

Once you receive your theory test results from the DVSA, it’s time for you to start Module 2 and get behind the wheel and carry out your training with a certified instructor. While your practical HGV training will only take five days from start to end, the entire process of obtaining your HGV licence will take between 8 and 10 weeks.

Research which training provider you want to use and how many attempts they include to pass the practical test or what the additional cost it would be to retake the test (in the event you don’t pass the first time). Driver Link Training are an excellent training provider based in the North West that we recommend to our drivers.

Driver CPC Certification

Now you can legally drive a HGV, you will need to take your Driver CPC Test to drive professionally, otherwise known as Module 4. CPC stands for Certificate of Professional Competence and is a set of standards required to drive a lorry, bus, or coach. Plus, a driving ability test with practical demonstrations. 

Once you have this, you’ll need to complete a refresher course every five years to ensure you are competent and proficient.  

Once you have got your HGV licence, you can expect to earn an average salary of £28,000 - £45,000 per year - depending on the type of vehicle you are responsible for, what type of cargo you are carrying, and who you work for. If you don’t mind spending time alone on the road, are focused and patient when driving, are good at keeping records up to date, and can work independently to tackle challenges like route changes, then HGV driving could be a great career option for you.

Are you looking for a HGV driving role? Our nationwide team of HGV recruitment specialists works with the major players in distribution and leading retail brands. We're always on the lookout for professional HGV drivers to join our team, contact us today.