If your lifelong dream has been to drive a lorry, truck or even bus down the majestic highways of the world, you have certainly come to the right place. HGV (or heavy good vehicle) drivers are the unsung heroes of the road, transporting and delivering goods and raw materials across the UK and overseas. They move everything from food to fuel. While some might say the career of a HGV driver can be lonely, it is also an incredibly rewarding and important job. So how do you achieve your dream and become a HGV driver, either for a company or running your own schedule?
Before You Start
Before you start on your HGV journey there are a few things you need to know. To become a lorry driver, you will need to be over 18 and hold your full car driving license. It doesn’t matter if you have no other qualifications or haven’t driven anything bigger than a mini, you can start learning how to drive large vehicles straight away. You need to log at least 35 hours of practical experience before you can take your test, so this is a good place to start. While you are learning the practical side of driving heavy goods vehicles, you will also need to undertake some training.
Before you can get behind the wheel and start driving professionally, there are a few things you will need to do. The very first is to apply for a provisional lorry or bus license, so you can start getting practical experience with an instructor. If the main part of your job will be to drive a lorry, bus or coach, or you will be driving vehicles over 3.5 tonnes, you will need a Driver CPC (certificate of professional competence). This qualification is made up of 4 parts; theory, case studies, driving ability and practical demonstration. Once you have passed all 4 tests, you will be given your driver CPC qualification. When you have attained a driver CPC, you will also need to go through a series of training courses. If you’re taking the first step towards a career in HGV driving, you will need to take a category C course. Category C (also known as Rigid, Class 2, Cat C and LGV) applies to all vehicles over 3,500kg. In total you will need at least 35 hours of training before you can take your LGV license test. This is the basic qualification all HGV drivers need in order to operate HGV’s legally. In order to apply for this qualification, you need to:
- Be competent in English and Maths
- Be over 18
- Hold a full car license
- Have good eyesight
- Pass a medical examination
- Possess a driver CPC qualification
Getting Your Qualification
Once you have met all of the criteria and passed the tests, you will be presented with your LGV license. Unfortunately, this is not like your driver’s license and will not last forever. Instead, you will need to take 35 hours of periodic training every 5 years in order to stay qualified. If you miss this deadline you risk losing your license and having to start again. You will also need to sign a declaration every 5 years until the age of 45 to show that you still meet the medical standards required of a HGV driver. After you turn 45, you will need to produce a medical report and evidence every 5 years to renew your license, until you reach the age of 65.
Of course, there are a few different routes to obtaining a LGV license, but this is by far the simplest and most straightforward. You could also take an approved NVT course, which would allow you to drive professional for up to 12 months without taking parts 2 and 4 of the driver CPC tests. If you are only looking to drive for a hobby, or want to carry passengers or good for personal, non-commercial use, you don’t need to complete the full driver CPC, but you will still need to pass parts 1 and 2. For more information or to book a training course, visit our courses page or get in touch for a personalised quote.