Around 60 percent of the HGV drivers in the UK are over the age of 45, while 13 percent are over 60, and only two percent are under the age of 25, according to a recent study conducted by an all-party UK parliamentary group. With the UK economy growing, a strengthening haulage industry will need an additional 150,000 lorry drivers by 2020, but not enough young people are entering into this profession. In fact, logistics companies are already struggling to hire new drivers, with around nine vacancies available for each qualified HGV driver, says Dr Ross Moloney, CEO of Skills for Logistics in a recent interview with BBC Radio.
There cannot be a better time to plan your career as an HGV driver. If you are tough, hard working, and love to travel around rather than being stuck in an office, this is the right profession for you. However, you need some training and qualification to become a lorry driver. Before you start your preparation, here are some important things to know about the specific of this profession.
Job DescriptionHGV drivers are responsible for transporting and delivering cargo across the United Kingdom and other countries. They move a wide variety of goods and materials, including fuels, chemicals, construction supplies, foodstuffs, medicines, and clothing items, to and from warehouses, depots, retail stores, and distribution centres. As a large goods vehicle driver, you may also need to participate in the loading and unloading of goods. You should be comfortable driving different types of commercial vehicles, including tankers, rigid trucks, trailer wagons, and articulated lorries. Typically, you will need to drive vehicles carrying more than 7.5 tonnes of cargo. Duties of a lorry driver may vary, but usually include;
Discussing delivery routes and schedules with transportation managersDriving commercial vehicles, complying with transportation regulations, such as speed limits, and load limitsMonitoring or assisting in loading and unloading of cargoKeeping records of driving hours, resting hours and mileageHandling delivery paperworkCleaning and maintenance of the vehicle
Entry RequirementsYou don’t need any formal educational qualification to become an HGV driver. However, your age must be above 18 and you must have a valid LGV license and excellent track record as a driver to enter into this profession. To get a valid license, you must clear a test in either of the following two categories.
i. Category C for driving commercial vehicles over 7.5 tonnes
ii. Category C1 for driving commercial vehicles up to 7.5 tonnes
Also, you must have a full car license, GCSEs (level C or above) in English and Mathematics, physical fitness and good eyesight to be eligible to appear for and clear the LGV test. Later, you can clear the category C+E test for driving larger and heavier trailers.
Skills RequiredYou should have excellent driving skills and diverse range of qualities to become a successful HGV driver. To excel in this career, you need;
To be reliableAbility to gain the trust of employersAbility to work continuously for long hoursOwnershipPolite behaviourAttention to detail when completing delivery paperworkKnowledge of safety rules and transportation regulations in different jurisdictionsPhysical fitness and good eyesight
Career Opportunity and SalaryAlthough mainly a male-dominated profession, truck driving can also be a career option for women. Around 94 percent men and six percent women work in this sector, according to the latest statistics from the Office for National Statistics (ONS). The Job outlook for HGV drivers is quite promising in the UK. Typical employers include freight shipping companies, logistics firms, manufacturing companies, retail chains, and large suppliers. With experience, you can establish yourself as a specialist in delivering dangerous goods, such as hazardous chemicals and fuels. You can also start your own business, operate your own trucks, or build your own fleet. Starting salary of large goods vehicle drivers in the UK could be anywhere between £19,000 and £23,000, while experienced drivers can expect an annual salary of £25,000 to £30,000. Specialists can earn even higher salaries of between £30,000 and £35,000 per year.
If you are confident about your driving skills and enjoy working in the outdoors, this could be an ideal profession for you.