How to become an LGV Cat C1 Driver - LGV 7.5 Tonne truck on dual carriage way

How to become an LGV Cat C1 Driver?

Overview

Job Role LGV Cat C1 Driver (aka: 7.5 tonne driver) 
Responsibilities Transporting goods, route planning and completing paperwork.
Salary

£11.26 per hour / £23,442 per year

Required Qualifications

LGV Cat C1 driving licence, and a Certificate of  Professional Competence (CPC) card

The transport and logistics industry in the UK is huge, employing more than 2.5 million people and contributing £121 billion to the nation’s gross value added. But according to the Freight Transport Association (FTA), there is an increasing shortage of skilled workers. In February this year, there were 52,000 vacancies for LGV drivers alone.

This means it’s a great career to get into for proficient drivers who can hold their concentration for long periods on the road. If you are prepared to invest a little time and money into the training required to become a LGV driver, it can be a very rewarding career. There are four different categories of LGV licences, which we explain below.

The primary responsibilities of a LGV Cat C1 driver is to safely transport goods from A to B. You will be required to record the deliveries and goods received, as well as planning your route and you may have to liaise with customers.

The average salary for LGV Drivers is £27,287per year or £13.12 per hour. And in April 2019, they reported that the average salary for a lorry driver rose by 20%. You can expect long hours in this role, but EU rules state that you may not work more than 9 hours a day or 56 hours a week. All lorry drivers must record their hours on a tacograph, which should be explained by your employer.

What used to be called a heavy goods vehicle (HGV), or lorry, is now referred to as a large goods vehicle (LGV) in the UK. It is important to know what type of lorry you would like get a job driving so you know which training and special licence you need. In the past, LGV has also been used to mean a light goods vehicle, which is now called a light van or delivery van and can be driven on a car licence.

If you would like to get into the transport and logistics sector, and have a car licence you could jump straight into a job as a delivery van driver, which we explain here. Similarly, you can drive a light van up to 3.5 tonnes with just a car driving licence. If you’re thinking about lorry driving as a career but have never done it, or can’t afford to do the training right away, both are good options. These jobs will also give you valuable work experience as a professional driver, which will help you get a job after you have completed your LGV training.

What do I need to do to become an LGV Cat C1 Driver? 

So, you know you want to get a LGV driver job, but which licence do you need? To drive a lorry up to 7.5 tonnes, you will need a LGV Cat C1 licence, which we explain in this article below. Any vehicle larger than this and you need an extra LGV Cat C licence, which allows you to drive vehicles over 3.5 tonnes, with a trailer up to 750kg. The highest level of LGV licence is Cat C+E. This additional category E on your licence is the highest level, and means you can have a trailer size over 750kg, and is explained in this article.

All LGV licences are additional to a car driving licence, which you must have already. If you need to find out how to get a car driving licence in the UK, all of the information is on the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) website. Being a lorry driver means you are required to obtain a Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) card.

The first step is to apply for a provisional lorry licence. Similarly to the car driving licence, this is done through the DVLA website, but you also require the D4 form to be filled in by a registered doctor. This is because drivers of lorries must be in reasonably good health. Be aware that you will have to either pay a private company to do the medical assessment and complete the form, or for your local GP’s time required to complete the form for you. The areas that will be assessed include your eyesight, any neurological and heart conditions, mental health, alcohol and drug use, diabetes and sleep disorders. According to the Road Haulage Association, costs for this can range from £50 to £120, so they advise you to shop around.

You must send this medical assessment (D4) to the DVLA along with form D2, which you have completed yourself, along with your photocard driving licence. The DVLA will then assess whether you are fit to drive a large vehicle, and then process your application and provisional lorry licence. Make sure you’ve filled in all of the correct details; missing or incorrect information will delay getting your provisional licence. You should receive the provisional licence within three weeks of the DVLA receiving your application.

The next stage is a four-part theory test called the Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC). You need the full driver CPC if lorry driving is the main part of your profession. You can read about all of the four driver CPC tests here, and how to book each of them through the DVLA website.

When going for the tests, make sure you take all of the required documents with you; otherwise, you can’t take the tests, and will have to pay again to rebook. Just like the car driving tests, it’s essential to prepare for your driver CPC tests. There are lots of learning tools available online, which explain each theory test, and allow you to do practice questions. Start by reading all of the information the DVLA provides.

The tests follow a similar format to the driving licence theory test but are longer and more extensive. Once you have booked and passed the theory tests, you will need to then find a good training provider to prepare you for the practical tests. The total cost for the driver CPC tests is £230 using the official service; this doesn’t include practical lessons or tutorage.

Once you’ve passed all parts of the driver CPC you’ll be sent a card, which you must carry at all times when driving a lorry professionally. In order to keep your driver CPC, you must take 35 hours of driver CPC training every five years to stay qualified. All of the information you need about becoming a qualified lorry driver in the UK can be found on this section of the government’s website.

To help you pass these tests, and in your day-to-day duties as a LGV Cat C1 driver, good English and maths skills will be useful. Good communication skills are also important when taking instructions from your manager, and talking to other colleagues in your team.

With your CPC under your belt, you’re ready to start applying for jobs. Most vacancies will be advertised online. When you find one that is suitable, make sure you read all of the job description and how to apply. It’s important to explain why you want the job and why you’d be a great addition to the company’s team of drivers.

Driving LGVs is a great job if you’re someone who can work well independently, as well as in a team when needed. The ability to think on your feet and good problem solving skills will also help you on the job when planning routes or dealing with unexpected problems or delays. While this is a career with lots of opportunities and job satisfaction, it’s important to realise that the working hours may impact your work-life balance and you may be required to work away from home.

There is also good scope for career progression. Once you have your CPC and some experience, it is fairly simple to add categories C and E to your licence to expand the type of lorries you can drive.

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