If you’ve reached this page, you’re probably already working in logistics, or you’re thinking seriously about it as a career.
Congratulations for spotting that this is an industry that’s full of opportunities. As a professional driver, your skills will always be in demand and there’s a clear pathway to advance your career and boost your earnings as you upgrade your licence and develop new skills.
Driver Hire Training can help you achieve your career goals.
Driver Hire has been around for almost 40 years and in that time we’ve learned a lot about what makes a brilliant driver, and how to build a career in logistics.
Read on to find out some of what we’re learned.
The UK logistics sector has seen strong growth in recent years with the overall number of people employed in the industry increasing every year. There are now nearly 4 million vans on the UK’s roads – that’s almost 10% of all road vehicles – and companies need drivers to drive them. And whilst van numbers have increased, and there’s a shift towards smaller, more eco-friendly vehicles in our cities, the Large Goods Vehicle (LGV) or Heavy Goods Vehicle (HGV) is still the backbone of our economy. The number of licence holders for these vehicles has been falling, so demand for quality drivers is greater than ever before.
Logistics is the movement of goods – getting them from A to B. And of course the truck driver’s role in this is incredibly important. Without lorry drivers, nothing we use – at home, at work, in the health service, manufacturing, education, defence and more – would ever reach the people who need it.
So drivers are practically the glue that holds the whole industry together! If you’re responsible for operating an HGV the vehicle and trailer could be worth over £150,000 and carrying loads of similar value (or higher). Therefore you’ll need excellent driving skills, a clean driver record, the ability to work alone and to concentrate for long periods. You’re also responsible for delivering great service, and you’ll be the ‘face’ of the company you’re working for.
The job also involves supervising and helping to load and unload goods, ensuring the loads are safe and secure, carrying out regular vehicle maintenance checks, planning and keeping records of routes, completing delivery paperwork, understanding working time regulations and operating a digital tachograph to track driving hours and breaks.
If you’re driving a 7.5 tonne vehicle or higher, you must also complete 35 hours’ periodic training every 5 years – the Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC).
This is also a heavily regulated industry – to keep us all safe – and so you’ll need a good understanding of the legislation. Under the Road Transport (Working Time) Regulation, for example, driving hours are limited to 56 hours per week with a maximum of 90 over a fortnight. The average working week is 42 hours, and can involve night shifts, weekend work and may also involve staying away in your vehicle. Find out more about drivers’ hours rules here.
With ever-increasing demand for delivery services and fewer professional drivers in the UK, you’ll never be short of opportunities. However, driving a van or lorry isn’t for everyone.
You will need to be physically fit and flexible, be able to maintain concentration for long periods, be literature, numerate and understand technology. You’re responsible for driving a heavy vehicle (and often a valuable load) on busy roads so you need to be responsible and reliable individual and a safe driver with excellent driving skill and patience. You will also need to be flexible and able to respond positively to the unexpected.
The earning potential for a Category C+E (Class 1) driver is usually between £22,000 – £40,000 depending on your licence category and shifts. This could rise to as much as £50,000 for highly qualified, specialist tanker / ADR drivers.
The logistics and haulage industry is the UK’s fifth largest sector, with over 2.54m people employed. Once you’re in the industry and become a professional driver, there are different career paths you could take further down the line, such as Tanker Driving, Transport Planning, Transport Manager, Driver CPC Trainer, Health and Safety Officer and more.
You might get into the industry through an apprenticeship scheme or you could choose to undertake your own HGV training, to gain the licence/s you need – such as Category C (Class 2) or Category C+E (Class 1). Driver Hire Training can help you with this!
You’ll need to be competent in English and Maths in order to take the LGV theory test, be 18 or over, hold a full car licence and have a good driver record, have good eyesight and have passed a medical as part of the HGV test.
The RHA has produced a useful fact sheet , which you can find here.
Getting your licence is one thing, but to maximise your earnings potential, you also need professional experience. You may be able to do this by working with an agency like Driver Hire.
Talk to a range of agencies and well known logistics operators in your area to see if they are open to recruiting and supporting newly qualified drivers. Working on temporary contracts will allow you to gain experience at different companies, and some will offer permanent work based on your performance.
Below is a list of licence categories and their typical job titles.
|Typical job title||UK licence||Description|
|Van Driver / Car Driver / Cat B Driver||B||Vehicle less than 3500kg. A trailer with GVM of 750kg or less may be attached. Eligible to drive this vehicle with normal driving licence.|
|7.5 Tonne Driver||C1||Vehicles over 3500kg but below 7500kg. A trailer of up to 750kg may be attached.|
|Class 2 Driver||C||Vehicles exceeding 7500kg with a trailer up to 750kg.|
|Class 1 Driver||C+E||Category C vehicles with a trailer over 750kg.|
Today’s modern HGV vehicles are automatic, with intelligent cruise control, automatic braking and high levels of driver comfort. They are also are cleaner (and quieter) than ever before. In fact, according to the Road Haulage Association (RHA) 50% of HGVs on the road are Euro VI – the cleanest emissions standard. Twenty trucks today make the same amount of noise as one truck from the 1970s.