If you’re considering becoming a lorry or HGV (heavy goods vehicle) driver, it’s important to understand the training and requirements involved. While the job can be rewarding and offer good pay and benefits, it also requires a significant time and financial commitment.
This article will provide tips and advice for those considering HGV training, including the different types of licences, the training process, and the costs involved.
Types of HGV Licences
There are several different types of HGV licences, which allow you to drive other types and sizes of lorries and buses. The most common types of HGV licences are:
- Category C (also known as Class 2): This licence allows you to drive a lorry with a gross vehicle weight (GVW) of over 7.5 tonnes but under 32 tonnes. This is the most common HGV licence type required to drive most delivery lorries.
- Category C+E (also known as Class 1): This licence allows you to drive a truck with a GVW of over 32 tonnes, including articulated lorries (also known as “artics”). This licence is required for long-distance haulage and international driving.
- Category D (also known as Class 3): This licence allows you to drive a bus with a GVW of over 5 tonnes but under 32 tonnes. This licence is required for driving most coaches and small buses.
- Category D+E (also known as Class 4): This licence allows you to drive a bus with a GVW of over 32 tonnes, including articulated buses. This licence is required for driving large coaches and long-distance buses.
The HGV Training Process
The HGV training process typically involves both classroom and practical training. Classroom training covers road traffic laws, vehicle maintenance, and safety procedures. Functional training involves hands-on driving experience, including learning how to manoeuvre and park the vehicle and practising driving on different roads and in various weather conditions.
To start the training process, you’ll need to hold a valid UK driving licence and be 18 years old. You’ll also need to pass a medical exam to ensure you’re physically fit to drive an HGV. Once you have these requirements, you can start the training process by finding a reputable training school or company.
It’s important to research and choose a training school with a good reputation and experienced instructors. You’ll also want to consider the type of training they offer, as some schools may specialise in certain kinds of HGV licences or have more advanced training programs.
The training process typically takes around 4-6 weeks, depending on the type of licence you’re seeking and your previous driving experience. After completing the training, you’ll need to pass practical driving and theory tests to obtain your HGV licence.
The Costs of HGV Training
HGV training can be a significant financial commitment, as the costs vary depending on the type of licence you’re seeking and the training provider. On average, you can expect to pay between £1,500 and £3,000 for Category C and C+E training and between £1,500 and £2,500 for Category D and D+E training. These costs typically include the training itself, as well as the practical and theory tests.
It’s worth noting that many training schools offer financing options or payment plans to help spread the costs over a longer period. Some employers may also cover training costs for new hires, so it’s worth asking about this possibility if you’re considering working for a specific company.
Tips for Successfully Completing HGV Training
- Practice makes perfect: While the HGV training process is intensive, it’s important to put in the time and effort to practise driving and gain confidence behind the wheel. This can help you feel more comfortable and prepared for the practical driving test.
- Get plenty of rest: As an HGV driver, you’ll be required to work long hours and be alert. Make sure to get plenty of rest and take breaks when necessary to avoid fatigue.
- Understand the rules of the road: It’s important to thoroughly understand the rules of the road and traffic laws, as you’ll be responsible for transporting large, heavy loads and need to be aware of any restrictions or regulations. Make sure to pay attention during the classroom portion of your training and ask any questions you may have.
- Stay up to date with vehicle maintenance: As an HGV driver, you’ll be responsible for performing basic maintenance tasks on your vehicle and ensuring it’s in good working order. Make sure to pay attention during training on how to check and maintain your vehicle, and make sure to stay up to date with any necessary maintenance.
- Take advantage of resources and support: Many training schools offer additional resources and support to help students succeed, such as practice tests and study materials. Make sure to take advantage of these resources, and don’t be afraid to ask for help if you’re struggling.
Becoming an HGV driver can be a rewarding career choice, but it requires a significant time and financial commitment. By understanding the different types of licences, the training process, and the costs involved, you can decide whether HGV training is right for you. By following the tips outlined in this article and putting in the necessary effort and practice, you can increase your chances of completing HGV training and obtaining your licence.