How to become a HGV Driver

HGV Driver on UK street completing delivery

Ever dreamt of hitting the open road, transporting goods across the country, and perhaps even internationally? If the answer is ‘yes’, then a career as a Heavy Goods Vehicle (HGV) driver might be your dream job. It’s a profession that combines a love for driving with the thrill of travel.

There’s never been a better time to become a HGV driver in the UK. There’s a skills shortage so there are 1000s of HGVs jobs being recruited for. And the UK government is investing heavily in free HGV driver training. It would’ve cost from £1,500 up to £5,000 to pay for a HGV driving course before the government started funding HGV courses.

If you’ve already heard enough, click the apply button below to start your application for a free HGV training course.

Or continue reading to find out more about starting a career as a HGV driver.

Understanding HGV Licences

HGV Driver on motorway in Britain

Starting a career as a HGV driver begins with choosing the best HGV licence to match your career and salary aspirations. Your HGV licence is your passport to applying for HGV driver jobs and determines the range of vehicle types you can drive.

Different Types of HGV Licences

The types of HGV licences allow you to legally drive a specific range of vehicles For instance, the Category C1 licence authorizes you to drive rigid lorries weighing between 3.5 and 7.5 tonnes. Whereas, the Category C licence covers rigid lorries over 7.5 tonnes.

For more substantial vehicles like articulated lorries, you’ll need a Category CE licence. There are also specialist licences including those for lorries transporting hazardous materials, livestock or construction materials.

Being aware of HGV driver categories will help guide you to employment opportunities that better fit your career aspirations.

Choosing the Right Licence for You

Selecting the fitting licence for an aspiring HGV driver depends primarily on the type of vehicle you intend to operate. As such, align your decision with your preferred job role in the haulage, delivery, or logistics sector. If uncertain, consult the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) for guidance.

Remember, your choice in licence type not only impacts your HGV training but also forms the cornerstone of your success in the competitive landscape of HGV driver jobs. Make your choice wisely, factor in your career aspirations, and pave a path that distinguishes you as a valuable addition to the transport and logistics industry.

Eligibility Criteria

There are some eligibility requirements to meet before you can start training to become a HGV driver. These include your age, health and fitness, legal, and residency factors.

Minimum Age and Health Requirements

There are minimum age and health standards to ensure safe driving of HGVs in the UK. To train to become a HGV driver, you must be at least 19 years old and hold a full UK driving licence. Additionally, a medical examination is mandatory to prove physical and mental fitness standards outlined by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA).

Legal and Residency Requirements

Crucial pieces of legislation apply, especially catching the attention of those planning to enrol in a HGV driver course or commencing HGV training. To qualify for Skills Bootcamps, you must be 19 years or over, and the employment status encompasses those who are employed, self-employed, recently unemployed within the past 12 months or returning to work following a break. It’s worthy to note that some Skills Bootcamps may impose extra conditions, so it is advisable to check with your local Skills Bootcamp provider. Furthermore, a full UK driving licence is a prerequisite for eligibility.

Steps to Becoming an HGV Driver

HGV Driving Completing A Deliver in a village in England

Venturing into a career as an HGV driver involves a specific process with multiple stages. This journey, albeit rigorous, unlocks a realm of HGV driver jobs that lead you across the country and sometimes, the globe. Below is a definitive guide to becoming an HGV Driver:

Apply for a Provisional HGV Licence

Firstly, focus on acquiring a provisional HGV licence. Establish this by ordering the D2 and D4 forms from the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA). Populate the D2 form with relevant personal information and prior driving experience. This form serves as your preliminary step into the industry.

Complete the Required Medical Test

Ascending in the hierarchy of HGV driver course requirements, the next step involves the D4 form or, the medical test. To illustrate, arrange an appointment with a doctor who will certify you as fit for HGV driving. With the doctor’s mark of approval stamped on your D4 form, you advance to the next stage in your HGV training voyage.

Pass the Theory and Hazard Perception Tests

Hold tight to your steering wheel of ambition because it’s time to delve into theoretical knowledge. After receiving your provisional HGV licence, you must pass the theoretical and hazard perception tests.

This segment ensures your understanding of HGV operation and road safety, paving the way to the practical part of the programme—practical driver training.

Complete Your Practical Driver Training

The preliminary tests navigated, you now enter the practical driver-training highway. This process revolves around real-life driving skills and operates from Monday to Friday, usually ending with a practical test. Completing the training brings you tantalisingly close to your destination — obtaining your HGV driver licence.

Pass the Practical Driving Test

Wind in your hair and ambition fueling your drive, the last landmark arrives — the practical driving test. Drive with accumulated knowledge, sharpened skills, and a composed mind. Navigate your lessons past the test, etch your name into the drivers’ hall of fame, and make way for a rewarding career in HGV driving. With the final test cleared and your HGV driving licence at hand, an array of HGV drivers jobs await your application.

Driver CPC Training

As your journey to securing lucrative HGV driver jobs continues, the pivotal step is obtaining the Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC). This section explains what this certificate is and the stages required to acquire it.

What is Driver CPC?

Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) stands as a crucial qualification for an HGV driver. This certificate authenticates and validates your professional driving skills. It is not just a piece of paper, but a recognition of your competence, understanding, and adherence to safety and regulatory standards imperative for an HGV driver.

Completing the Initial CPC Training

A precursor to your HGV driving career, the initial CPC training is pivotal for securing desired HGV driver jobs. After obtaining a provisional HGV licence and acing the Driver CPC Part 1 tests (Theory and Hazard Perception), you step towards practical training. Following the theoretical test, your ability to drive a lorry efficiently meets further evaluation via practical testing. Assessing your safe and efficient driving, the Driver CPC Part 3a Test (Off-Road Exercises) and Driver CPC Part 3b Test (On-Road Driving) are taken on a specially designed course at the DVSA Test Centre or DVSA Approved Training Centre.

Periodic CPC Training

Your journey of becoming an HGV driver doesn’t end with the initial CPC. A different HGV training is necessary to maintain your Driver CPC up to date, supplementing your years as an HGV driver. Rest assured, various training courses are available to keep you proficient and prepared if any changes occur in regulations. Continuous learning is a key aspect of any HGV driver course, ensuring you stay relevant and competent in this demanding field.

Applying for HGV Driving Jobs

Following the successful acquisition of your HGV licence and completing the Driver CPC training, you enter the exciting phase of applying for HGV driver jobs. Specialised sectors, such as haulage, delivery, or logistics, present numerous prospects.

Preparing Your Application

Optimize your job application to stand out amidst the competition. This involves crafting a robust CV highlighting your qualifications, including your HGV licence, driver CPC, and any additional distinctions, for example, Accord Dangereux Routier (ADR) or the Petroleum Driver Passport (PDP). Emphasise your training, underlining completion of notable HGV training courses or skills bootcamps, and any relevant experience you hold.

Tips for Successful Job Interviews

Job interviews may be daunting. However, thorough preparation includes learning about the organisation, rehearsing potential questions, and showcasing your acquired HGV skills. Your completion of an HGV driver course should equip you with knowledge about road safety, driving regulations, and vehicle safety. Highlight these during your response. Additionally, articulating how your skillset can contribute significantly to the company’s operations is a key strategy.

Adjusting to the HGV Driver Lifestyle

Embracing the HGV driver lifestyle involves adjustment. Key skills such as adaptability to change, handling pressure in stressful situations, and meeting tight deadlines are crucial. You will engage with information technology, software packages, and encounter situations demanding flexibility. Embrace this lifestyle with positivity, viewing each situation as an opportunity to apply the skills acquired during your HGV training.

Common Issues and Troubleshooting

In the journey of becoming an HGV driver, a period of challenges is almost inevitable. Two major obstacles usually encountered involve test failures and difficulties in job hunting. This section provides practical advice to help navigate these issues.

Addressing Failed Test Attempts

Everyone has moments of unsuccessful attempts, and failing a test section during HGV training is no exception. Here’s what to do if you’re in this situation:

  1. Analyze your performance. Identify the areas where you lost marks in the Driver CPC Part 1 Theory Test or the Hazard Perception test. Maintain focus and work to improve in these areas.
  2. Utilize the study material available online to review the test contents. With dedicated learning and practicing, you may see significant improvement in your understanding and ability in dealing with the hazard perception tests or multiple-choice questions.
  3. Rebook your test as soon as you feel confident enough. Experience strengthens, and every test attempt, regardless of the result, brings you closer to becoming a professional HGV driver.

Dealing with Job Search Challenges

The job search phase often causes stress. Here are ways to navigate the challenges during your HGV driver job search:

  1. Polish your CV: Highlight your HGV licence and the Driver CPC qualification. Make sure to include any additional distinctions, such as IT skills or adaptability, that can help you stand out.
  2. Expand your search: Don’t limit your search to one job board or company. Opt for various channels including specialized HGV driver job platforms, recruitment agencies, and transportation company websites.
  3. Network: Connect with people in the industry who can help guide your search or provide insights into company cultures, vacancies, and hidden HGV driver job opportunities.


Remember, perseverance is key. Each challenge faced presents an opportunity to learn, adapt, and improve. Embrace these obstacles and let them equip you for success in your HGV driving career.

Continuing Professional Development

Ongoing Training and Certifications

In the highly dynamic field of HGV driving, it is paramount that you stay updated with industry developments. Regular interaction with laws, technologies, and equipment merits an ongoing commitment to training and certifications. Participating in Continuing Professional Development (CPD) provides the foundation to stay abreast with industry shifts, optimize your role, secure safety, and adhere to laws. Submit to regular certifications as part of your responsibility. Remember, these certifications yield dual benefits: they align with legal requirements and provide a platform for career progression.

Take advantage of professional bodies, unions, and associations to enrich your skills. Reputable examples include the HGV Alliance UK Ltd, UK Haulier, the Transport Association for Companies, the Heavy Transport Association, and Logistics UK. These entities unfold access to industry contacts, networking events, and varying levels of membership, all beneficial for your profession. Leverage their CPD support to enhance not just your driving skills, but overall career growth.

Advancements and Specialisations

Efforts in CPD can push your career beyond standard HGV driver jobs, setting you up for advancements and specialisations. Aspects of your profession like the transportation of hazardous materials or livestock carry special requirements. These often demand specific licenses and specialist training. Association memberships can advise on the right courses to build such specialist capacities.

Remember, an investment in CPD is an endorsement for your own potential in the field. Specialising in areas can open wider opportunities beyond regular HGV driver jobs. Be it HGV driver courses or advanced training sessions, prioritising your professional development can cement your standing in the HGV community. Continue learning, seek advancements, and, above all, specialise to forge a distinguished career in HGV driving.