Qualified Heavy Goods Vehicle (HGV) Drivers are vital to keep the economy running and are generally in high demand in the UK. HGV Drivers are required in many sectors and businesses, from delivering essential food, medicines, machine parts, building materials and fuel, to luxury items such as furniture and fashion.
Being an HGV Driver
An HGV Driver, also known as a Large Goods Vehicle (LGV) Driver, would be expected to transport goods between various locations on behalf of suppliers and customers. The role involves planning delivery schedules to ensure that goods are delivered on-time to the intended local, national, or international location.
To become a qualified HGV/LGV Driver you will need to have a car driving licence, obtain a medical examination, hold a Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC), along with having passed your HGV theory and relevant category practical driving test.
In September 2021, the UK government created an initiative to ease the shortage of HGV Drivers. With an investment of £10million, the Department for Education (DfE) has initiated ‘Skills Bootcamps’ to train people to become HGV Drivers. There is also funding available for those who gain their HGV driving qualification via the Adult Education Budget in the 2021/2022 academic year.
Due to nationwide shortages of HGV Drivers, there can be plenty of great incentives and signing bonuses available from many big employers to anyone starting a career as a professional Driver, or for those who are already qualified returning to this profession.
A newly qualified professional Driver can expect to earn from approximately £28,000 per-annum for a full-time position. With experience this can rise to around £39,000 per-annum, and a specialist Driver can earn as much as £45,000 per-annum.
There are many types of HGV Driver jobs, so there is bound to be one that suits your work/life balance. Shift-work can be a good way to fit your job around other commitments. Long haul Drivers usually do less drop-offs but drive longer distances, whereas short haul entails more drop-off points within a smaller geographical area. Continental HGV work can take you across Europe to make deliveries, but this can also mean some unsociable hours and nights away from home.
Flexible shift patterns allow you to drive up to 56 hours in one week. However, you cannot exceed 90 hours in a two-week period. For example, if you drive for 50 hours in week one then you can only drive for 40 hours in week two.
The driving limits imposed mean that you can drive for nine hours per day with a 45-minute break. You must take 45-minutes rest for every four and a half hours of driving, but you can split your 45-minute break into shorter periods. Twice a week you can extend your driving time to 10 hours in one day.
You must take 11 hours daily rest, in addition to your 45-minute break, and your daily rest can be split into two blocks. One must be an uninterrupted minimum of three hours and the second an uninterrupted minimum of nine hours. Three times per week you can reduce your daily rest to a minimum nine-hour uninterrupted period.
Is an HGV Driver job a good fit for you?
There are various types of HGV Drivers, depending on what size lorry you drive:
- 7.5 tonne driver (Category C1)
- HGV/LGV Category C Driver (Class 2)
- HGV/LGV Category C+E Driver (Class 1)
- Long Distance Driver (Tramping)
- Abnormal/Unusual Load Driver
In addition to always driving safely, the day-to-day duties and responsibilities of an HGV Driver include:
- Transporting goods between warehouses, distributions centres, businesses, and retail outlets.
- Ensuring your vehicle is clean, safe and your load is legally roadworthy.
- Undertaking vehicle safety checks, basic repairs, and maintenance.
- Organising efficient routes, often in conjunction with the transport manager.
- Carrying out multiple pick-ups and drop-offs in each shift.
- Overseeing and assisting with loading and unloading.
- Updating delivery paperwork, logbooks and tracking mileage.
- Complying with all relevant driving regulations and rules.
- Staying informed on road closers, diversions, and traffic jams.
- Reporting any delays or accidents.
Are you a good fit for an HGV Driver job?
Being an HGV Driver differs to other types of driving roles, as you will need a high level of driving skills and experience, be self-motivating, able to work without supervision and to drive long distances and stay focused. You will also need excellent map reading and route planning abilities, problem solving skills and be customer focused.
There are certain attributes and traits that will mean that you are well suited for this role, these include being highly reliable, flexible, and organised. You will also need to have good attention to detail, be able to remain calm in stressful situations and to always be patient. This role will be a good fit for you if you are a logical, focused, and observant person with good communication skills and a friendly manner.
Qualifications, Licences and Certifications
The qualifications, license types, certifications, and training needed to be an HGV Driver are quite specific, as this is a highly skilled and specialist job with demands on your attention levels and physical health.
- Be over 18 years of age.
- Pass the pre-requisite certified medical.
- Hold a full and clean car (category B) licence.
- Hold a Certificate of Professional Competence (Driver CPC).
- Experience with GPS navigation, mapping, and route planning.
- Ability to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device.
Have the right licence for the vehicle that you intend to drive:
- Category C1 - Large Goods Vehicle (LGV) weighing up to 7,500kg/7.5 tonnes.
- Category C - rigid vehicles weighing over 7,500kg/7.5 tonnes with trailers weighing up to 750kg.
- Category C+E - articulated vehicles in excess of 7,500kg/7.5 tonnes with trailers weighing more than 750kg.
- GCSE in English and Maths.
- Goods handling experience.
Where can an HGV Driver job take you?
After a few years in an HGV Driver role, the next steps for your driving career path could be:
- Self-employed HGV Driver – instead of working directly for a company or an agency, you can become self-employed, giving you more flexibility over your working hours.
- HGV/LGV Driving Instructor – you need an HGV driving license and three years’ experience before you’re able to supervise a learner driver.
- Specialist Driver – such as driving a fuel tanker (hazardous load) requires you to hold a special vocational certificate of training (ADR certificate).
- Lorry Mounted Crane Driver – load, transport, and off-load goods from a lorry that has a crane mounted to it. You will need a HIAB training licence, also known as an Association of Lorry Manufacturers and Importers (ALLMI) Certificate.
- Freight Transport Planner – needs the ability to analyse the needs of private or public transportation companies to devise new road or transportation schemes.
- Transport and logistics company – to start your own business you will need an entrepreneurial spirit, financial backing, and good contacts within the transport industry.
To find out more about how to choose the right driving career, click here.
For more career advice, tips and guides click here.