April 19, 2024

How to Start Your Career as an HGV Driver

Are you considering a career in Heavy Goods Vehicle (HGV) or Light Goods Vehicle (LGV) driving? With the ever-growing demand for logistics and transport services, becoming an HGV driver offers a stable and rewarding career path. At Prism 7 Resourcing, we specialise in recruiting for the transport and logistics sector, so we don't provide training ourselves, but we thought it would be helpful to provide some information for those that might be looking to join our industry, or even if you are a previously licensed HGV driver looking to rejoin the driving workforce. So here we're going to try and provide some tips to guide you through the best ways to start your journey in the HGV/LGV driving industry. Along with some helpful links and any current schemes or funding that might help with the cost of your new career journey.

With the pressure of HGV driver shortages mounting a few years ago, the push for new or returning drivers in the industry has been huge, and thankfully this means there is a great deal of support for those looking to start a new career in HGV/LGV Driving!

Understanding the Role of an HGV Driver

Before embarking on your training journey, it's important to understand what the role entails. HGV drivers are essential to the economy, responsible for transporting goods safely and efficiently across the country and even internationally. The job involves more than just driving; it includes planning routes, managing schedules, ensuring vehicle safety, and maintaining compliance with local and international transport laws. As well as commercial goods transport roles, you will also have opportunities to support services like public transport or private passenger travel, if driving buses and coaches is something you might be interested in.

Getting Started with HGV Driver Training

To begin your career as an HGV driver, you'll need to obtain the appropriate licenses. The process starts with acquiring a professional driving qualification known as the Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC).

There are a few different ways to achieve this

  • Skills Bootcamps
  • Apprenticeships
  • Vocational qualifications
  • Driving schools

Here's some more information about these training schemes and initiatives to help you get started:

Skills Bootcamps

The government-funded Skills Bootcamps offer complimentary training courses lasting up to 16 weeks. These opportunities are exclusively available in England.

Skills Bootcamps are complimentary training courses in England, designed for individuals either new to or returning to heavy goods vehicle (HGV) driving, and last up to 16 weeks. These courses are also ideal for those looking to enhance their license or qualifications—for instance, to handle the transport of hazardous materials like petrol or to tow heavier trailers.

Eligibility Criteria: You are eligible to apply if you:

  • Are 19 years old or older.
  • Hold a full car (category B) driving license.

Additional requirements may be applicable depending on your course provider.

Cost: The Skills Bootcamps are entirely free and cover all expenses related to:

  • Obtaining a provisional license, including the medical exam.
  • Completing each of the four Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) tests, with one re-sit allowed per test.

The National Careers Service provided by gov.uk is a great place to search for bootcamps for HGV driving licences

HGV Driver Apprenticeships

These programs are designed to help new drivers enter the profession without the burden of upfront training costs. Apprenticeships combine on-the-job training with earning a wage, making it an attractive option for many aspiring drivers.

The same way as any other industry, HGV driver apprenticeships offer a blend of on-the-job practical training and academic study. Various apprenticeship routes are available across England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland for those looking to pursue a career in heavy goods vehicle (HGV) driving.

In England, apprentices have the unique opportunity to start driving professionally before completing all four parts of the Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC).

Eligibility Criteria: To apply for an apprenticeship, you must:

  • Be 18 years of age or older.
  • Not be in full-time education.
  • Reside in the country where the apprenticeship is offered.

Apprenticeship requirements vary, with different programs asking for specific qualifications and skills. For instance, some might require you to have a full car (category B) driving license.

Cost: The training comes at no cost to you, and you will earn a salary during your apprenticeship. The amount you are paid and which additional costs are covered will depend on your employer.

Finding an apprenticeship - to find an apprenticeship, you can either search on general job advertisement boards, for private apprenticeship listings which some companies may use, or the government provide a register of available apprenticeships. Just click the button below and search for "HGV driver", "LGV Driver" etc.

Vocational Qualifications

In England, you can pursue a vocational qualification to become a heavy goods vehicle (HGV) driver, and you might be eligible for financial assistance to help cover the costs.

There are five vocational qualifications currently available (Q2 2024):

  1. Highfield Level 2 Certificate in Driving Goods Vehicles
  2. ProQual Level 2 Certificate in Driving Goods Vehicles
  3. Pearson Edexcel Level Certificate in Driving Goods Vehicles
  4. ICQ Level 2 Certificate in Driving Goods Vehicles
  5. SQA Level 2 Certificate in Driving Goods Vehicles

As part of these qualifications, you’ll complete the four Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) tests required to qualify as an HGV driver. Completing one of these qualifications allows you to start driving professionally even before you’ve passed all four parts of the Driver CPC. Learn how you can begin working as an HGV driver while still in training.

Eligibility Criteria: Contact the course provider to determine if you meet the eligibility requirements to apply.

Costs: Fees vary by course provider, so you will need to inquire directly about the cost of your course.

Check with your course provider for details on what is included in the course fee and what additional costs may apply.

Just like bootcamps, the National Careers Service provided by gov.uk also is a great place to find courses providing vocational HGV driving qualifications

Private HGV Driving Schools

If none of the above options are good for you, then you have the option to train with an independent driving school across England, Scotland, Wales, or Northern Ireland. Each school may vary in terms of costs and entry requirements, and you are more "under your own steam" going this way, however the support and assistance provided by some private driving schools is second to none.

There are two national online registers where you can search for driving schools:

  1. The National Vocational Driving Instructors Register, endorsed by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA), allows you to find a driving school.
  2. The National Register of LGV Instructors, which also lists qualified driving schools.

While using a registered driving school is not mandatory, these registers can help you find reputable providers. Alternatively, you can search online for other driving schools that may not be listed on these registers. A google search will return many private schools offering HGV driving licensing, you should be able to locate a HGV driving school near you fairly easily this way if you can't find one on the endorsed instructors lists above.

What if I Previously Drove HGVs?

If you have previously qualified as an HGV driver, you can return to driving without needing to retake all four tests for the Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC).

To reactivate your HGV license:

  1. Renew your HGV license.
  2. Complete 35 hours of training or pass parts 2 and 4 of the Driver CPC tests.

In future, if you want to avoid your licence becoming invalid, to maintain your qualification, you just need to complete 35 hours of periodic training every five years. That way you can return to driving without the delay of renewing your licence and training a the time.

Government Support for HGV Drivers

The UK Government provide excellent support for new HGV Drivers, in fact a lot of the funding and scheme's mentioned above are government funded, you can also find a lot of the same information as above, but in more detail with links to various registers of providers, courses and funding options on the gov.uk website - here

The government reacted to the urgent need for drivers by introducing new schemes and relaxing certain rules and regulations to allow access to a HGV driving career for more people.

The Benefits of Choosing a Career in HGV Driving

Choosing a career as an HGV driver comes with several benefits. Not only is there a high demand for drivers, which ensures job security, but the role also offers flexibility and the opportunity to travel. Many drivers enjoy the autonomy of the job and the variety that comes with different routes and cargos.

Why Choose Prism 7 Resourcing?

As mentioned at the start, we don't provide training ourselves for new drivers, however we love to help new drivers find their first break in the transport and logistics industry! A lot of our clients are very open to assisting new drivers in their chosen career path, and may have additional training that can be taken whilst on the job, or even apprenticeships with themselves. So it's always worth registering with us as early as possible in your journey, so we can consider you for anything that might be suitable once you are qualified. Let us help you drive your career forward!

At Prism 7 Resourcing, we understand the needs and challenges faced by HGV drivers and those looking to enter the field. We offer personalised recruitment services to help you find the right job that matches your skills and career aspirations. Our expert recruiters are knowledgeable about the latest trends and opportunities in the transport and logistics industry, ensuring that you receive the best advice and options.

So that's it for our insight about entering the HGV driving world, overall we think starting a career in HGV driving can be your pathway to a stable and fulfilling professional life, it's a very strong qualification to hold with plenty of businesses requiring HGV driver skills. With the right training and guidance, you can quickly become part of a crucial and booming industry. Whether you’re just starting out or looking to shift careers, Prism 7 Resourcing is here to support every step of your journey.

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