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How Long Does it Take to Become an HGV Driver?

Becoming an HGV or lorry driver is an excellent way to open the door to a new and improved range of career opportunities. Right now, HGV driving is quickly becoming one of the most secure and well-paying jobs in the UK, and you don’t need a specialist degree to get started. All you need is some specialist training from the right company.

With a massive shortage of around 100,000 HGV drivers currently affecting the UK, there are plenty of job opportunities out there for those with the right talent and mindset. With the right position, you can earn a great income, while enjoying a life of freedom on the road.

If you think a career as a lorry driver could be the perfect avenue for your future, you might be wondering exactly how long it takes to earn your certification and begin searching for a new role.

Here’s everything you need to know to begin your journey.

Step 1: Preparing to Get Your HGV Licence

The first step in getting your HGV licence, is making sure you have all the required skills to begin your training. Driving a lorry isn’t the same as driving a car, but you will need a full UK driver’s licence before you begin learning. Ideally, you’ll need a clean license with no marks on it, and you’ll have to be over the age of 18 to begin your education.

If you haven’t already got your driver’s licence, this will be one of the most time-consuming stages of becoming a lorry driver. It takes between 1 and 5 months for most people to get their licence, so the earlier you can start training the better. However, if you’re planning on a career in this industry, there’s a good chance you’re already comfortable behind the wheel.

If you have your standard driving licence already, the largest amount of time you spend jumping into your HGV career could be applying for your provisional licence, and making sure you’ve studied properly for your exams. We recommend starting your study as soon as you decide you’re ready for a career change.

Step 2: Applying for a New Licence or Requalifying

The length of time you’re going to need to dedicate to your journey as a HGV driver will depend heavily on whether you’re starting from scratch, or re-entering the field. If, like most new HGV drivers today, you’re brand-new to the industry, you’ll have to apply for a provisional licence, just like you did when you were first learning to drive a car.

There are various types of HGV licence you can consider, so it’s best to know exactly what kind of vehicles you want to drive. Most Lorries fall under the “Category C” section, and you can find other information about the licences you’ll need for different vehicles on the Government website.

You can apply for your licence either via the post or online. However, online applications are usually faster. Most people receive their provisional within 3 weeks of the application behind received. You may also need a medical check, which will involve a brief conversation with a doctor, designed to ensure you don’t have any conditions which might influence your driving.

If you’ve already completed your HGV driving and you’re just requalifying for a new role, you shouldn’t have to start the training process again from scratch. However, you will need to check to see if your licence has expired. If it has, you’ll have to renew your licence, update your information, and make sure you’re certified to drive the right kind of vehicle.

If you want to stay qualified as a HGV driver, you’ll need to renew your licence once every five years. If you’re under the age of 45, you’ll only have to complete the relevant forms, but people over the age of 45 will usually need a medical assessment. If you’re over 65, you’ll need to renew your licence once a year. Renewing your licence will also require you to take another 35 hours of training every five years. This ensures you’re up-to-date with the latest skills lorry drivers need.

Step 3: Taking Your HGV Driving Tests

You can apply to take your HGV driving tests as soon as you receive your provisional licence in most cases. That’s why it’s a good idea to start studying as quickly as possible. There are four different Certificate of Professional Competence tests to consider, including:

  •  The Theory Test: A hazard perception test and multi-choice quiz you can take when you have your provisional licence. You’ll need to take this test first before you start showcasing your skills with your driving abilities.
  • The Case Study test: Another part of your HGV training you can complete as soon as you receive your provisional licence, this test comes with a certificate which remains valid 2 years after completing the exam successfully.
  • The Driving ability test: Here, you’ll need to show your ability to drive a lorry to a professional. You’ll have to complete your theory before taking this test, which usually takes around an hour and a half in total.
  • The Practical Demonstration: This test involves five different topics from the CPC syllabus, each of which come with a score of up to 20 points.

When you complete all of your tests successfully, you’ll receive the CPC card you can use to highlight your ability to drive lorries to future employers. You’ll usually only need up to 5 days to finish all of the practical and theory tests, particularly if you have the support of an excellent HGV
training company to guide you every step of the way.

There are even companies like the LGV training company capable of fast-tracking your training process, so you can get on the road as quickly as possible.

Ready to Become a Lorry Driver?

Unlike most career changes, making the decision to switch into a life as a lorry driver doesn’t have to take as long as it seems. You can do everything within as little as 5 days from the moment you get your provisional licence.

The best way to get started is with the right support. Contact the LGV Training Company to fast-track the training process and open the door to your new career.

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