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14th September 2021

How to become an HGV driver

This blog will explain how to safely and quickly negotiate the route to becoming a fully qualified HGV driver.

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If you love driving you might want to turn your passion into a career by training as an HGV driver.

If you do retrain, your skills will be in great demand as there are reportedly around 50,000 unfilled HGV driver positions in the UK. This has contributed to the current supply chain problems the country is experiencing and means newly qualified HGV drivers will be spoilt for choice.

But if you want to become an HGV driver, how do you go about it, how long will it take, how much will it cost and how much could you earn? The motoring experts at Sterling insurance answer your questions.

What are the basic requirements of becoming an HGV driver?

You will need to be at least 18 and have a valid British driving licence. If you learned to drive abroad you will have to exchange your licence for a British one.

HGV driver

How long will it take to get an HGV licence?

The actual HGV driver training is pretty intense and only takes five days, but the entire procedure can take 8-10 weeks for you to physically get hold of your new HGV licence. 

The four steps to HGV driving heaven

1. Medical test

Professional HGV drivers must pass a medical exam as part of their training. This consists of an interview and examination with a doctor to establish you are fit and healthy to drive. The doctor must record their findings with the DVLA.

2. Theory test

Just like when you learned to drive a car, you will have to take a multiple-choice HGV driving theory test. You can practice by taking mock HGV theory driving tests on the DVLA website. 

3. Practical training and test

Once you pass your theory test, you can get behind the steering wheel  of an HGV for some serious training with a qualified instructor. The training is pretty intensive and is usually conducted over five days. Once you’re ready to take the practical test, you can book your HGV driver test.

4. Driver CPC training

Once you’ve passed your practical exam and you’re a qualified HGV driver, you may also need to take your Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) test. The CPC comprises a set of standards you must adhere to in order to be an HGV driver. You’ll need to take and pass a refresher course of 35 hours every five years to remain roadworthy.

Are there different types of HGV driver licences?

HGV driver licences vary depending on the weight of the vehicle and/or the cargo you intend to haul. 

Cat C1 licence

The smallest type of vehicle used for haulage is a Cat C1 vehicle, such as a large van, which weighs between 3,500kg and 7,500kg, with or without a trailer weighing up to 750kg.

Cat C1+E licence

This also allows you to drive large vans weighing between 3,500kg and 7,500kg, but this time with a trailer weighing more than 750kg.

Cat C licence

A Cat C HGV driver licence allows you to drive vehicles weighing over 3,500kg and pulling a trailer weighing up to 750kg. These are typically rigid-backed lorries.

Cat C+E licence

The Cat C+E allows you to drive the largest HGVs such as articulated lorries and international haulage vehicles weighing over 3,500kg and with a trailer that can weigh more than 750kg.

HGV driver

How much does it cost to learn to drive an HGV?

A five day HGV driver training course will cost in the region of £1,400 but there are other costs you will have to consider including the theory test (£26), CPC certification (£23), driving ability test (£115 weekdays and £141 at weekends), and your practical test (£55 weekdays and £63 at weekends).

How much do HGV drivers earn?

Your salary will very much depend on what you are driving, what you are hauling and over which distances you are hauling it. The average salary for an HGV driver is around £32,000 but it could go up to as much as £40,000 or £45,000. During the current supply chain crisis and with the shortage of qualified drivers, salaries are expected to increase.

Are there any other benefits to becoming an HGV driver?

Well, if you love driving, the benefits are obvious: you get to do what you love for a living. 

There are other benefits too. There are all those Yorkies you can scoff and, as a professional driver, you’ll be in a position to earn a generous discount on your Sterling HGV insurance. Be sure to mention your HGV driver status when you phone 0344 381 9990 for a quote to insure your car.

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