Many people are likely to find it difficult finding a full-time job these days – especially one that pays well. As a qualified driver of heavy goods vehicles (HGV) you may discover that you never need be out of work. What is more, given the general shortage of such trained personnel, you are also likely to welcome the often top rates that are typically paid.
In addition to being kept in full-time employment, there are other aspects of the job which you might find attractive:
- variety – no two days are likely to be the same, as not only your route but also the hours that you work may vary from day to day;
- for anyone with the slightest sense of adventure and a desire to see something of the world, lorry driving provides the opportunity of staying out and about, visiting new places and, depending on the type of job you land, the possibility of travelling to exciting places abroad; and
- through all of this, there is going to be just you behind the wheel – you are in charge of an invariably large and precious cargo, thus giving an immediate sense of responsibility and job satisfaction.
Few people are likely to tell you that it is going to be easy – but then few things are that are ultimately worthwhile.
One of the most comprehensive and authoritative descriptions of the steps involved may be found on the official government website.
Just as you did when learning to drive a car, the first step to becoming a lorry driver is to apply for a provisional driving licence to drive the appropriate class of HGV – indeed, you normally need to hold a full licence to drive a car before you are granted a provisional licence for an HGV. By the same token, if you lose your driving licence for a car, you automatically lose your HGV licence
If you lose these licences, it is against the law to continue driving a lorry – and any HGV insurance, of course, also becomes invalid.
With respect to the tests you need to take these come in three main parts:
- a multiple choice theory test;
- a written hazard perception test; and
- a practical test – which needs to be taken within at least two years of your having passed the written tests.
Although success in these tests grants you the right to drive the appropriate HGV (depending on the category of licence you hold), you need one further certificate in order to be able to drive professionally for your living. This is called the Driver Certificate of Professional Competence, which is effectively valid for 5 years. During the course of those 5 years, you need to demonstrate that you have done a total of 35 hours of ongoing training in order to revalidate your certificate.
Given the rigours of the testing, you are of course likely to need careful training in the driving of an HGV. There are a number of companies offering just such a service and if you are seriously interested in becoming a professional lorry driver you might want to start with a visit to The HGV Training Centre.