There is currently a national shortage of over 50,000 HGV drivers, and with the average age of UK drivers at 53, the industry is lacking younger drivers to fulfil the next generation of recruits.
What skills does an HGV driver need?
To become an HGV driver, you must be over the age of 18 and hold a full driving licence. You must be a sharp, alert driver and be able to work independently. The ability to focus during long journeys is a large part of the role, and vital in preventing accidents. Although it is mostly a solitary role, people skills are important. Interactions with warehouse operatives and customers will become part of your daily routine, and it is important that you can communicate effectively with them.
There are several LGV licences that drivers can acquire, dependent on the type of vehicle you want to handle. Initially, you will need to apply for a provisional licence from the DVLA to commence your HGV driver training. A medical test is required to ensure that your health is sufficient to be in control of an HGV and to lift heavy goods.
Secondly, you will need to take a theory test known as Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (Driver CPC). This four-part DVSA test aims to improve road safety and driving standards. To maintain these standards, you will have to take 35 hours of training every 5 years to stay roadworthy.
Drivers will initially take Class 2 licence training, a training course which allows them to drive Cat C vehicles known as rigids (as well as 7.5 tonne vehicles). After this qualification, they can take the HGV Class 1 test which is for handling Cat C+E vehicles, known as artics. These practical tests in training vehicles with a licenced DVSA member involve practical training which equips you for a life on the road, including how to handle a heavy goods vehicle. Drivers learn about HGV road safety as well as legal requirements such as how to record rest breaks.
How to get HGV driver experience
By working at an agency like Drive Personnel, drivers have the opportunity to gain experience in both long- and short-term positions. Drivers with a Class 2 licence can build experience by:
- loading and unloading various types of freight
- driving in different weather conditions
- driving on roads all over the country
These experiences will build the confidence of new drivers and can be invaluable to those wanting to apply for a Class 1 or a specialist HGV licence.
Why become an HGV driver?
If you love driving, like working independently and want to have the power to increase your own earnings, working in the logistics industry as an HGV driver could be your perfect career.
Working as an HGV driver, you have excellent earnings potential. The more training you have, the higher your salary will be, and the more likely you are to find work. For example, drivers who handle dangerous goods vehicles have a specific licence, and these drivers will earn much more than a standard Class 2 driver. When you work with a driver recruitment specialist like Drive Personnel, training is always available for you. Whether you want to obtain a Cat E licence or an ADR, the opportunities are limitless!
The favourite part of the job for many drivers is the freedom of the open road. Working an average of 37-42 hours a week, 9 hours a day are often driving hours. The excitement of planning a route, travelling the country and battling different landscapes and weather are a thrill that many of our drivers love. With the ability to choose which hours you work, (within the legal Drivers’ Hours limits and business requirements) you can largely be your own boss.
Why choose Drive Personnel?
At Drive Personnel, our experienced team are specialists in the logistics and transport industry and have the knowledge required to match you to your perfect job. Our large portfolio of clients allows the opportunity for a range of roles that fit around your home and work life, offering great rates of pay and great flexibility. We know how important career progression is for drivers, and we love to support our workforce by offering training courses like Class 1, Moffett, HIAB and ADR to help you increase your earning potential.
Our 24/7 recruitment agency service operates from our local office, and our employees will always strive to find your company the best driver for the job. We offer employment opportunities for drivers across Southampton, Eastleigh, Portsmouth, Gosport and Fareham and our positions range from LGV drivers Class 1, HGV Class 2 (C+E & C) drivers, 7.5 Tonne (C1), van drivers (B), HIAB and ADR drivers.