The allure of the open road, the freedom of travel, and the satisfaction of playing a crucial role in the supply chain make lorry driving an appealing career choice. In the UK, the demand for more HGV drivers is consistently high, offering a stable and rewarding career path.
This guide will walk you through the process to start your journey in this rewarding profession, providing a step-by-step journey into the world of lorry driving, from the initial decision to the day you take the wheel as a professional lorry driver.
Before diving into the specifics, it’s essential to understand what being a lorry driver entails. This role is about more than just driving; it requires strong concentration, the ability to manage long hours on the road, and a commitment to road safety. Lorry drivers are responsible for transporting goods across the country and sometimes even across borders.
This role requires a high level of responsibility, as you’ll be in charge of valuable cargo. It’s a job that suits those who enjoy solitude, are comfortable with long hours on the road, and can handle the responsibility of timely and safe deliveries.
To start your journey, you must meet some basic requirements. You need to be at least 18 years old and hold a valid UK car licence ensuring you can legally drive. If your professional driving qualification is from outside the UK, you’ll need to transfer it. The role is not suited for those who prefer desk jobs, as it involves long working hours and handling cargo.
There are different categories of lorry licences in the UK, each allowing you to drive various types of vehicles. A HGV licence is also known as a professional driving qualification called Cat:
A medical exam is mandatory to ensure you’re fit to drive large vehicles. This involves a consultation and examination by a doctor, who will complete a DVLA form as part of the process.
Like car driving, you’ll need to pass a theory test, which includes multiple-choice questions and hazard perception. Preparation is key, and many training providers offer resources to help you succeed.
Similar to learning to drive a car, you’ll need to apply for a provisional HGV licence. This is your first official step towards becoming a lorry driver.
Practical training is where you get behind the wheel of an HGV vehicle. Choose a reputable training provider to ensure high-quality instruction, HGV driving can be challenging This phase culminates in a practical test.
After passing your practical exam, you’ll need the Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) to drive professionally. This involves additional tests and a commitment to ongoing training every five years.
HGV drivers have responsibilities extending beyond driving. You’ll manage your company’s paperwork, ensure your vehicle is safe and roadworthy, and sometimes navigate international routes and regulations. It’s a job that requires patience, attention to detail, and a strong sense of responsibility, as well as long working hours.
The earning potential for lorry drivers can be attractive, with salaries varying based on skills and experience, the type of vehicle driven, and the nature of the work. Lorry driving can be lucrative, with salaries ranging from £40,000 to £55,000 per year, However, it’s important to consider the lifestyle. The job can involve irregular hours, long periods away from home, primarily working independently and strict adherence to driving and rest time regulations.
If you love driving, enjoy changing scenery, and don’t mind spending time alone, lorry driving could be an excellent career choice. It offers the opportunity to see different parts of the country (or even Europe), a sense of independence, and a critical role in the economy. However, if you prefer a more traditional office environment or struggle with long periods of solitude, it might not be the right fit. A different course of action may be a similar role, such as a bus driver.
Becoming a lorry driver in the UK is a journey that requires commitment, training, and a passion for the road. With the right mindset and preparation, it can lead to a fulfilling and financially rewarding career. Remember, the road to becoming a lorry driver is as much about personal discovery as it is about professional development. Embrace the journey, and you may find a career that offers more than just a job – but a lifestyle that suits your love for the open road.