How to Become a HGV Driver
HGV drivers are highly in demand in the UK and elsewhere in the world. (Heavy Goods Vehicle) drivers transport heavy goods across the country and internationally, providing an essential service to businesses and customers all over. Find out how to kick start your career and find HGV driver jobs today.
What does an HGV driver do?
An HGV Driver transports goods from a supplier to a client or customer, this can be from one city to another, across the country or internationally. They are qualified to operate trucks and lorries which are over 3,500kg and can therefore move a significant amount of goods at one time. They spend a lot of time on the road and have to ensure that goods are transferred safely and promptly.
The day to day tasks of an HGV Driver
How much do HGV drivers earn?
An average HGV driver salary starts out at around £19,000 a year. However this varies depending on experience as well as demand. When there is a HGV Driver shortage, salaries may be increased in order to entice drivers onto new jobs. Experienced drivers can expect to earn upwards of £36,000 per year.
What qualifications do you need to become an HGV driver?
HGV Drivers need a full driving licence, be over the age of 18 and get qualified with a Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC). In order to apply for a CPC, you will need to apply for a provisional licence for HGV drivers and then pass the 4 tests which make up the driver CPC qualification. In order to stay qualified you will also need to undertake 35 hours of periodic training over the next five years.
There is also the opportunity to get your HGV licence through an apprenticeship scheme. In order to study an apprenticeship in this area, you will likely need 5 GCSE’s grades A*-C, which you can study online flexibly if you do not already have them. If you are already working for a company that requires drivers, you might also be able to undertake an HGV Driver apprenticeship through them.
What does the HGV driver CDC qualification consist of?
The CDC Tests cover the essentials to becoming an HGV Driver including a driving theory test, online case studies, practical driving test and practical demonstration test. This will take around five days to complete, however, the entire process from obtaining a provisional license to completing training and getting your license will take around 8-10 weeks.
The theoretical and practical tests both include a variety of aspects integral to being a good HGV driver, including hazard perception, what to do in emergency situations, how to carry out safety checks and successful road haulage. The tests will be given through a combination of multiple choice questions, road safety assessments and practical driving ability tests at a local test centre. There are many training providers who offer flexible HGV training courses which can be undertaken around your working life.
There are also different CDC tests you can take which leads to licenses in different vehicle weights. You can choose to train and qualify for driving different types of vehicles with or without trailers and weighing up to certain amounts. Depending on which vehicles you want to drive, you can undertake the Category C, Category C+E, B+E or D tests. The qualifications with more weight and trailer allowances will make you more employable, however many jobs don’t require you to carry large trailers so you can still find plenty of work if you opt for training with lighter loads.
What skills does an HGV Driver need?
There are many skills that go into HGV Driving, and it can be a demanding career that requires a lot of focus. Some of the skills you will need to undertake this career include:
Do you need work experience to become an HGV Driver?
Some jobs may require you to have previous work experience in professional driving, however this is not always the case. Many HGV drivers can start in the industry with no direct previous experience. If you have any experience in related roles however such as customer service or vehicle maintenance, this can be advantageous as it demonstrates you have some of the skills mentioned above.
Career prospects for an HGV driver
The opportunities for career progression and salary increase are often very good for HGV Drivers. Due to the flexible hours, the more work you take on the more money you can earn, and through taking on more shifts or responsibilities you can gain significant experience.
When you are an experienced HGV driver, not only can you likely get a higher salary, but you can also progress to become an HGV (or LGV) instructor or move into management.
You can also undertake additional qualifications such as the ADR (Advisory Dangerous Goods by Road) certificate which enables you to transport tankers of toxic chemicals and other hazardous goods.