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Understanding Your LGV/HGV Licence

Starting a career as a lorry driver means getting to grips with a variety of licences and undergoing specific training – which can seem complex and overwhelming at first.

However, at The LGV Training Company, we’ve created this guide to make sense of the requirements, offering to-the-point answers to common questions about becoming a professional lorry driver.

Whether you’re new to the field or looking to advance in your lorry driving career, we’ll cover the essentials you need to know for a successful journey in lorry driving.

HGV lorry licence Vs. LGV lorry licence: What’s the difference?

Historically, LGV was used to describe lighter commercial vehicles with a gross weight of up to 3.5 tonnes, while HGV referred to heavier vehicles over this threshold. However, in modern UK terminology, this distinction has blurred and the terms have become interchangeable.

Today, LGV is commonly used in Europe to refer to a broader category of goods vehicles that includes what the UK traditionally calls HGVs. Essentially, LGV now encompasses both light and heavy goods vehicles, including lorries, trucks, and trailers over 3.5 tonnes. This shift means that when we talk about LGV licences in the UK, we’re generally referring to the same category of vehicles as HGV licences.

What licence do I need to start?

Every lorry driver’s journey begins with a basic car driving licence. This licence is essential as it confirms your understanding of road rules and your ability to navigate them, laying the groundwork for advancing to larger vehicles.

Can I transition from car to lorry with a provisional licence?

To start driving a heavy goods vehicle, you’ll need a provisional lorry licence. This step requires a medical exam to ensure you’re fit for the road, followed by applying for the provisional entitlement for LGV or HGV categories. We will help with this every step of the way, to make sure it’s clear and straightforward for you.

Why is the Driver CPC important?

The Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (Driver CPC) is a must-have for anyone looking to drive lorries, buses, or coaches professionally. It’s designed to ensure all professional drivers meet and maintain high standards of driving and safety. 

New drivers need to pass the initial qualification while existing drivers must undertake periodic training to keep their skills sharp and up-to-date.

You’ll need to set aside 35 hours for this training every 5 years. Since the legislation came into effect in 2014, many drivers renewed their CPC in 2019 and will need to do so again in 2024. If you haven’t done so yet, don’t worry! Just make sure to renew it by September 2024. This can be done virtually online, which can save you money and time. 

If you have any questions on this, call our team who would be glad to discuss options with you.

What licence do I need to drive HGV or LGV lorries?

Depending on the vehicle you plan to drive, you’ll need the appropriate HGV or LGV licence. These are categorised by vehicle weight and type:

  • Category C1: For driving vehicles between 3.5 and 7.5 tonnes, possibly with a trailer up to 750kg.
  • Category C: Known as the Class 2 HGV licence, for vehicles over 3.5 tonnes, with or without a trailer up to 750kg.
  • Category C+E: For driving a vehicle over 3.5 tonnes with a trailer heavier than 750kg.
  • CPC: If you want to drive an HGV commercially, you’ll need the  Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (Driver CPC). This needs to be renewed every 5 years.

What’s involved in HGV/LGV practical training?

Practical training is essential for mastering the skills needed to drive a large vehicle. At a driver training centre, you’ll receive hands-on training covering vehicle safety, driving techniques, and specific skills like manoeuvring and securing cargo. This practical experience prepares you for the challenges of professional driving.

How can I prove my driving Skills?

The practical test is your opportunity to demonstrate your driving competence, including vehicle safety knowledge, road driving skills, and off-road exercises. The driving ability test confirms you’re capable of safely operating a large vehicle, the most critical aspect of being a professional HGV driver.

Is ongoing training usually required?

Yes, the Driver CPC mandates 35 hours of periodic training every five years to maintain your qualification. This continuous learning ensures you stay informed about the latest driving practices and regulations.

How much does it cost to become a professional lorry driver?

When considering a career as a lorry driver, it’s important to factor in the costs associated with obtaining the necessary licences and training. The investment in your future career involves several key components, each with its individual price tag.

Here’s a breakdown of the typical costs you can expect:

  • Medical Examination: The journey starts with a medical examination to ensure you’re fit to drive large vehicles. This examination can cost anywhere from £50 to £100, depending on the provider.
  • Provisional Licence Application: Applying for your provisional lorry licence is the next step. Fortunately, this part of the process is usually free, but it’s essential to check for any updates or changes to this policy. The form can be complicated and if you need any help with completing any aspects of the form, call our friendly advisors who can help you through the process.
  • Theory Tests: The theory test is divided into two parts: the multiple-choice questions and the hazard perception test. These test costs can vary depending on where and when you want to take your test, so call our team to get a cost.
  • Driver CPC: For new drivers, obtaining the Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) involves passing four modules, including two theory tests and two practical tests. Costs depend on where and when you want to take them.
  • Practical Training: The bulk of your investment will likely go into practical training. The cost of practical HGV training varies widely based on the training centre, the type of licence (Category C1, C, or C+E), and the length of the course. The longer courses, such as C+E typically take 7 days or more, and cost more than Cat C and C1 courses. However, C+E courses can include the Cat C licence, so make sure to ask your provider if this is the case. 
  • Practical Tests: Finally, the practical driving test is dependent on where and when you can take it – whether you want a weekday test or evening, weekends, and or even bank holidays. If you’re taking the test for a Category C+E licence, the cost may be higher so it’s best to check. Contact us to check the cost which best suits your requirements.

Choosing a reputable training provider like The LGV Training Company can ensure you receive high-quality training that prepares you for success in your lorry driving career, making the investment well worth it.

Why should I choose The LGV Training Company?

  • Expertise and experience: Our training programs are delivered by instructors who are not just experts in their field but are also passionate about sharing their knowledge. They bring years of on-the-road experience, ensuring that you learn from seasoned professionals.
  • Comprehensive training programs: We offer a wide range of courses covering every aspect of lorry driving, from the initial steps of obtaining your provisional licence to the advanced skills needed for the Category C+E licence. Our programs are designed to equip you with both the practical skills and theoretical knowledge required to succeed.
  • Support beyond training: Our commitment to your success extends beyond the classroom and the driving test. We guide the entire process, including advice on passing the Driver CPC and tips for your career development as a lorry driver.
  • Flexible learning options: We understand that our students have different learning styles and schedules. That’s why we offer flexible training options to suit your needs, ensuring that you can train at a pace that works for you.

Get in Touch

If you’re ready to start your journey or have any questions about what it takes to become a professional lorry driver, we’re here to help. Contact The LGV Training Company today for more information on our courses, instructors, and how we can assist you in achieving your career goals.

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