How to become a lorry driver earning £50,000 a year

There is a shortage of lorry drivers in the UK these days, and it’s something that the Government is increasingly worried about.

A lack of qualified HGV drivers has been blamed for exacerbating recent supply problems at many supermarkets caused by self-isolating members of staff.

It has led to recent talks involving retailers, logistics firms and wholesalers and officials at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), which is even understood to be considering placing drivers on an official shortage occupation list to help recruit from abroad.

Increasing capacity for HGV driving tests and training is another options, with the shortage resulting in some drivers being paid up to £20 an hour which, for a typical 55-hour week, stacks up to about £50,000 a year.

READ MORE: Tesco offers £1,000 bonus to new HGV drivers amid UK worker shortages

The industry reports huge shortages – with perhaps as many as 80,000 drivers leaving the haulage sector for other less demanding roles or leaving the UK to work in Europe, writes DerbyshireLive.

If you are tempted to give it a go, the industry will welcome you with open arms. So here’s what’s involved in training to be a driver:

Getting Started

The first stage to becoming a lorry driver is having a full car licence and a provisional LGV licence which is available from the DVLA upon application.

A large goods vehicle (LGV) licence commonly referred to as a heavy goods vehicle (HGV) licence allows someone to operate a lorry over 3,500kg.

This application should be accompanied by a medical form filled out by your GP and possibly an optician.

You also need to be aged over 18.

What’s next?

To hold a UK lorry driver’s licence you have to complete a qualification called the Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC).

You will need to pass four tests to get it unless you have previous driving experience which may reduce the amount of training required.

What do the Driver CPC tests include?

Theory Test

The first part of the test is theory based; this can be booked as soon as you have a provisional licence.

The test has two parts – multiple choice and hazard perception both of which can be taken on the same day.

The multiple-choice part lasts just under two hours and the pass mark is 85 per cent.

In the hazard perception part you will watch a series of 19 videos and spot a range of developing hazards. The pass mark is 67 per cent.

Case Studies

This can be taken before the theory test is passed by someone holding a provisional licence.

The test is made up of seven case studies you work through on a computer. You’ll be asked multiple-choice questions on each case study.

The test lasts for 75 minutes, and the pass mark is 80 per cent.

Driving Ability

This can only be taken once you have completed the theory test.

The practical test lasts about 90 minutes and includes vehicle safety questions, practical road driving and off-road exercises.

The test includes ten minutes of independent driving without direction from the examiner.

Off-road exercises include an ‘S’ shaped reverse into a bay plus uncoupling and recoupling procedures for a trailer.

Practical Demonstration

This final stage assesses loading a vehicle following safety rules and how to keep the load secure.

It also includes sections on stopping trafficking in illegal immigrants, assessing emergency situations, reducing physical risks and walkaround vehicle safety checks.

To pass you have to score at least 75 per cent in each of the five topic areas and have an overall score of at least 80 out of 100.

Staying Qualified

Lorry drivers must complete 35 hours of additional training in every five-year period following the award of their Driver CPC.


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