The UK is currently facing a shortage of HGV drivers in the country. According to stats, the country needs 60,000 more drivers to fill the talent gap. These stats present a favorable opportunity to those youngsters who have to choose their careers.
If you are looking to make professional driving your career, give HGV driving a second thought. Here is the career path for potential HGV drivers. Plus, the post will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of taking this route.
Career Path to Become an HGV Driver
To start this career, you need to get the relevant license. After you have gotten your basic driving license for car and motorcycle driving, start with getting HGV Class 2 license. You can get this license after passing your heavy goods vehicles theory test and practical test. This license will open the path for Class 1 HGV license which allows the drivers to drive vehicles with up to 3500kg in weight.
These licenses will take between 12 and 14 weeks to complete and allow you to start driving professionally without supervision. You will get both theoretical and practical knowledge of the operations of an HGV with the prerequisite training of these licenses.
Besides this basic training for professional HGV driving, you can also choose to advance to specializations to increase your value to potential employers. You can take courses like Moffett, HIAB, and ADR to drive specialized vehicles. Choosing between these courses should depend on your employment needs and career growth opportunities.
Salary and Working Hours
Entry-level HGV drivers make between £17,000 and £20,000 a year. This amount increases to £40,000 or more with experience and specialization.
HGV drivers put in 50 to 52 hours a week into their job.
Let’s check out the major pros and cons of getting started with this profession.
Pros of Becoming an HGV Driver
From the earning potential of this career, you can see that the entry-level salary of these drivers is just enough to cover the living expenses, but as you progress in your career, your earnings will grow.
Unsurprisingly, most people who get into this profession have money as the last thing on their minds. So, what makes HGV driving a preferred career? Here are some advantages of this career:
You can start your work as an employee or as a private contractor. Either way, you will get plenty of work. We mentioned at the start of this post that the country needs 60,000 more HGV drivers to fill the talent gap. Because of this supply-demand imbalance, your chances of getting work as an HGV driver remain high.
These drivers are supposed to put in long working hours but that doesn’t stop them from enjoying work-life balance because they have a say in the time they work. Most HGV drivers work with umbrella companies that offer a wide range of jobs for them. These may include helping moving families or freight forwarding for bigger companies.
You can work with the management to set your hours to suit your schedule.
Opportunity to Travel
Most people who set up a career in heavy goods driving do this because of their passion for travel. Once in this career, you will get different jobs: some will ask you to travel within the town while others with ask you to transport goods to another city or country.
Potential for Growth
HGV drivers are usually contractors and employees under a transportation company that oversees different levels of freight management. You start as a driver and can move to other operations including management, specialized vehicle driving, and building your transportation agency.
Cons of Becoming an HGV Driver
With all the potential advantages of this career, many people don’t want to become an HGV driver. That’s because the working conditions don’t make it an attractive option. Here are some cons of starting a career as an HGV driver.
Lengthy Licensing Process
You can complete the licensing procedure in 12 weeks if you remain on track and give your complete focus to it. Although it’s possible, many potential drivers take several rounds of tests to succeed at getting licensed.
Once you have obtained the license and started working as an HGV license, you need to spend 35 hours in training every five years.
Upfront Financial Commitment
If you want to get employed as a driver, you may not have to deal with lots of upfront costs. All you need is to pay for the exams to get the license. You can also get these costs covered by the employer as onboarding costs.
But if you want to become an independent contractor, you will have to purchase a vehicle to start your career. This purchase is a huge cost and not feasible for many potential HGV drivers.
Long Working Hours
These drivers put in almost 10 hours more into their job than other employees. That disturbs their work-life balance. Also, they have to travel long distances and may have to spend days away from their families, causing distress and loneliness in them.
HGV driving is an attractive career for those whose primary concern is job security. At the same time, the career pays enough to the entry-level driver and has strong potential for growth. If you want to become an HGV driver, you need to get HGV Class and Class 2 licenses.