Guide to Obtaining Your HGV licence and Understanding the Process

Road transportation plays a crucial role in the economic growth of the United Kingdom, as evidenced by industry data revealing that 98% of food, agricultural, and consumer goods rely on road transport. This highlights the significant contribution of heavy goods vehicle (HGV) drivers to the country’s economy.

Additionally, the transport sector’s significance is underscored by its substantial employment figures, with over 2.5 million individuals working in the industry and close to half a million HGVs registered in the UK.

Currently, the transportation industry is experiencing a significant shortage of 45,000-50,000 drivers, which can be attributed to various factors. These include an aging workforce, the impact of Brexit, and the lack of diversity within the industry, with women making up only 1% of the European truck-driving workforce. Recognizing the magnitude of this issue, the Transport Select Committee of the Parliament has determined that the industry will need to recruit an additional 1.2 million workers by 2022.

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Roles and Responsibilities of an HGV Driver

HGV drivers are responsible for moving products from suppliers and distributors to customers. They are certified to operate heavy vehicles weighing more than 3,500 kg (3.5 tonnes). These drivers travel extensively within the UK, as well as across Europe and beyond, to ensure that deliveries are made punctually and in optimal condition.

Nonetheless, this position is not solely about transporting oneself from point A to point B. It may also encompass the responsibilities listed below.

  • Organizing travel itineraries and timetables
  • The transportation and transfer of merchandise.
  • Ensuring that the cargo is properly and securely fastened.
  • Completing paperwork
  • Fundamental inspections for upkeep.

Consequently, possessing proficient driving abilities alone is insufficient, especially when considering the growing demand for Heavy Goods Vehicle (HGV) drivers. To excel in this field, it is equally important to demonstrate a responsible demeanor, exhibit effective customer service skills, and effectively handle high-pressure scenarios, all of which can be acquired through enrolling in a comprehensive HGV training course.

Benefits of pursuing a career as an HGV driver

If you possess the aforementioned set of skills, derive satisfaction from traveling on highways, and prefer working autonomously, then this profession would be well-suited for you. It offers numerous advantages such as:

  • Ass
  • Employment
  • Possessing A levels or a degree is unnecessary.
  • The chance to explore different places and cultures.
  • Promising advancement opportunities in one’s professional journey.
  • The potential for individuals to work for themselves.

What is the average salary for HGV drivers?

HGV driving provides both job security and competitive compensation. Although salary ranges depending on experience and industry, starting salaries typically fall within the range of £19,000-£24,000 annually. On average, drivers earn around £32,500 per year, with higher-paying positions potentially exceeding £40,000.

Step 1: HGV Training – Choosing the Right Category

To begin your journey as an HGV driver, what steps should you take? Here’s what you need to do:

  1. It is necessary to be of legal age, that is,
  2. Having a valid UK driving license is required.
  3. Acquire the Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) certification.

To obtain the Driver CPC, you must initially submit an application for a provisional license. If you are an HGV driver, your license must incorporate one of the subsequent categories.

  • The C1 category is the entry-level Heavy Goods Vehicle (HGV) license, encompassing vehicles weighing between 3,500 and 7,500kg, as well as trailers weighing up to 750kg. If you obtained your driver’s license for cars prior to 1997, the C1 class will be automatically included in your license.
  • Category C1E pertains to vehicles in which a trailer weighing more than 750kg is permitted, as long as the combined weight does not exceed 12,000kg.
  • Category C also referred to as Class 2, is the introductory license for individuals aspiring to become professional HGV drivers. With a category C license, drivers are authorized to operate rigid vehicles that weigh over 3,500kg but are under 32 tonnes, where the cab and trailer are permanently fixed together. This license also grants permission to tow trailers weighing up to 750kg.
  • Category CE also referred to as Class 1, pertains to both rigid and articulated lorries. It represents the complete HGV license, granting drivers the authority to operate Category C vehicles that transport trailers weighing over 750kg.

After identifying your category, you have the option to pursue a provisional license. To do so, you can utilize the DVLA website, which is managed by the government. This process entails filling out two distinct forms: the D2 application pack and the D4 medical form.

Step 2: CPC Testing Explained

The CPC certification consists of four components. The examinations are administered at various test centers across the United Kingdom. It is advisable to select a test center that is conveniently located near your residence in order to be familiar with the local road networks during the practical segments. Similarly, when choosing a training center, proximity to your home should be considered, keeping in mind that the lowest price does not necessarily equate to the highest quality. Conduct thorough research and read reviews before making a decision. Prior to taking the practical tests, it is mandatory to complete 35 hours of driver training, making it essential to engage the services of a reliable HGV training provider.

The CPC consists of four components, which are as follows:

Part 1 – Theory

Multiple Choice

The duration of this examination is 1 hour and 55 minutes, and in order to achieve a passing grade, a minimum score of 85 out of 100 is required.

Costs: £26

Hazard Perception

During this simulation, you will be required to view 19 videos and successfully identify 20 potential hazards. In order to pass, you will need to achieve a score of at least 67 out of 100.

Costs: £11

After successfully completing your theory exam, a certificate for the test will be issued and sent to you. This certificate is a requirement for advancing to Part 3.

Part 2 – Case Studies

Once you obtain your provisional license, you have the option to schedule this stage without having to wait for the test certificate. This segment consists of seven practical scenarios. Each scenario requires you to respond to 6-8 multiple-choice questions. The duration of the test is 1 hour and 15 minutes, and a passing score requires achieving 40 correct answers out of a total of 50.

Costs: £23

Part Three – Enhancing Driving Skills 

The duration of this hands-on examination is 90 minutes. It aims to evaluate the following aspects:

Vehicle safety

During a standard driving test, you will also encounter vehicle safety questions known as “show me, tell me” queries. These questions aim to assess your knowledge and understanding of vehicle safety. Here are some examples:

  • Demonstrate the process of inspecting for air leaks on this specific automobile.
  • Can you explain the key safety considerations when loading this vehicle?

Practical road driving

During this stage of the examination, you will undergo assessment on:

  • Operating the controls of a vehicle.
  • Traveling in a diagonal direction, both uphill and downhill.
  • Performing a managed halt.
  • Using the vehicle’s mirrors provided
  • Providing suitable signals.
  • Understanding and foresight.
  • Effectively overseeing your advancement and regulating your velocity.
  • Handling and managing risks.
  • Finding a secure location to pull over.

Off-road exercises

To successfully pass your test, you must demonstrate proficiency in certain maneuvers such as attaching and detaching a trailer (if your test includes one) and performing an S-shaped reverse into a parking space.

To successfully pass your Driving Ability test, it is essential to commit 15 faults or less, with zero serious faults.

Prices: On weekdays, the cost is £115, while during evenings and weekends, it is £141

Part 4 – Practical Assessment

To progress to Part 4, completion of the Part 2 test is required. The final stage is crucial for individuals pursuing a career in driving. It consists of five subjects covered in the Driver CPC course.

You will undergo evaluation regarding:

  • Properly Loading the vehicle and securely storing items for transportation.
  • Recognizing and evaluating unforeseen circumstances that require immediate attention.
  • Conducting a thorough inspection to ensure safety prior to walking.
  • Reducing the potential for physical hazards.
  • Combating the smuggling of undocumented migrants.

To successfully pass, a minimum of 15 points out of 20 must be attained for each topic, with an overall score of at least 80 out of 100.

Prices: Weekdays cost £55, while evenings and weekends are priced at £63.

Once you successfully complete all four components, you will receive your CPC card, indicating that you are fully prepared to proceed.

Step 3 – Maintaining Expertise: Sustaining Your Qualification

HGV drivers are required to follow strict driving standards and keep up with changing regulations. As part of this, they need to undergo 35 hours of Driver CPC training every 5 years. This training is divided into 5 modules, with each module consisting of 7 hours. It is essential to complete the training before the 5-year deadline in order to maintain the ability to drive professionally. Upon completion of the training, drivers will receive a new Driver CPC card.

We trust that this information has provided you with a clear understanding of the process to obtain your HGV licence. Regardless of your current life stage, whether you are a recent graduate or considering a career change, this profession offers great fulfillment and does not require substantial student loans to pursue your aspirations.