Many employers now can’t get their goods from A to B as quickly as they would like, due to a driver shortage in the UK. This can impact customer satisfaction and retention, as well as your bottom line.
However, this brings with it increased career possibilities for those considering a career in HGV driving. Not only is it a reliable, well-paid job, it also helps boost employee satisfaction.

But with HGV training and training courses being the first step for many, what exactly do you need to know before you get started?

What is an HGV licence?

A Heavy Goods Vehicle (HGV) licence is another category of licence that allows you to drive large goods vehicles weighing more than 3.5 tonnes. 

Rather than being split by vehicle type, as with the Cat A and B motorcycle and car licenses respectively, the licenses associated with driving lorries and similar vehicles are split by weight, usually given in tonnes. 

Once you have filled in the paperwork, passed your medical, and gained your HGV licence, you can then go through the appropriate training, which includes taking your theory, practical, and CPC tests

These tests give you the qualifications and entitlement needed to drive the largest vehicles on the roads and allow you to look for your first professional driving job – leaving your unfulfilling current role behind for good. 

How long is your HGV licence valid for?

Once you have gained your respective LGV or HGV licence, it will be valid for approximately 5 years before you need to complete 35 hours of periodic training. 

Once you reach 65, you will need to renew your HGV licence yearly.

Everything you need to know about HGV Training

HGV licence training

A large or heavy goods vehicle includes any vehicle with a gross weight exceeding 3.5 tonnes, such as lorries and other types of commercial vehicles including:

  • PCVs, such as buses and coaches
  • Articulated lorries with or without trailers
  • HIABs – loader cranes 
  • Tippers or dump trucks
  • Refuse or recycling lorries 
  • ADRs – dangerous goods vehicles
  • Final mile lorries 
  • Ambulances 
  • Horseboxes 
  • Tractors  

Each type of LGV or HGV licence comes with bespoke training, which gives you the knowledge, understanding, and practical skills needed to safely drive large vehicles of that weight class out on roads across the UK and the world. The HGV test is straightforward – if you know how to drive a car or light van safely, then driving an HGV will make sense for you – but some things might not be obvious at first glance, so let’s take a moment here and go over some important details about getting your full HGV licence!

How to get started with HGV training? 

So, you want to become a lorry driver? Well, there are some initial requirements that you have to meet.

First and foremost, you’ll need a full HGV driving license. 

When it comes to HGV training and licensing, every country varies slightly—so make sure you find out exactly which tests are required in your area before applying for anything. 

In England and Wales specifically, though, most HGV training providers will help you apply for your provisional license and then will help candidates complete three separate courses:

  • HGV theory training and the respective test
  • Practical HGV training and the accompanying test
  • The CPC (Certificate of Professional Competence) course is mandatory and consists of multiple parts that test a range of theory and practical skills.

The best way to get through this training and pass your test, is by going through an approved training provider, like us here at HGV Training Network.

We are long-established and can give you all the information and support needed before you get behind the wheel feeling confident with your test instructor!*Did You Know – HGV Training Network can provide training courses for a wide range of vehicle types. Browse our choice of training courses and get your new career started today!

What do I need to start HGV training?

If you want to become a lorry driver there are a few requirements that you’ll have to meet first.

Before you can learn to drive an HGV, you’ll need a full UK car driving licence and most candidates will need to be over 18. 

You will then apply for your chosen HGV licence and complete a medical test, which ensures you are fit to drive. 

Then, if you are living in England or Wales specifically, most candidates will need to complete three separate courses:

Once you have completed and passed all three sections, you can find your first professional driving job with the help of our recruitment partner, Blue Arrow.

Everything you need to know about HGV Training - HGV Training Network

How long does an HGV course take?

HGV training with specialist HGV training providers can be as short as five days (minimum length), and the maximum length will be determined by the type of vehicle course you take and how far along your training journey you are.

With other providers, HGV driver training can be spread over eight to ten weeks but can be longer or shorter depending on your circumstances and how much time you can devote to your training. 

If you are starting completely from afresh, we would advise that it may take around 2 months, as you will need to allow for:

  • The DVLA to receive and process your licence application and send it back to you – this can cause delays during busy periods or if you have filled out your form incorrectly.
  • Time for HGV theory test revision – which can take a few weeks to complete if you feel you need more studying time. 
  • A week to complete your practical training and test.

How long does an HGV test take?

The HGV test is made up of two parts, the theory and practical tests – including your CPC tests within them. 

The theory test itself takes at least 2 hours and 15 minutes, with one hour and 15 minutes being devoted to the multiple-choice questions, and an hour set aside for the hazard perception test. 

Similarly, the practical test will officially last about 90 minutes but can go over if there is traffic or poor road conditions. 

The CPC test sections further add up to about 2 hours and 15 minutes in total, but these are completed alongside the theory and practical tests, so you won’t need to factor these in separately.

Can I have quick HGV training? 

Created to tackle the HGV driver shortage in the UK, the government has created a selection of boot camps to try and decrease the time it takes to get new drivers on the road. 

In these highly time-restricted courses, everything is included, from your theory revision to your practical driver test. 

*Did You Know – HGV Training Network is one of the best-reviewed HGV training providers in the country? Click here to take a look at some of our incredible reviews from thrilled students.

How long until I can get a job as an HGV driver?

Many new or prospective drivers will ask us how long it will be until they can get out on the road as a professional driver. 

HGV practical training alone takes a minimum of five days to complete, and the maximum length of the training you need will be determined by the type of course you need to take and if you have any previous driver training.

If you are completely new to the profession, HGV driver training can usually be spread over eight to ten weeks, but it’s worth noting that it can be longer or shorter depending on your circumstances. Similarly, to qualify for an HGV license, all drivers must complete their initial training with a qualified instructor at an approved centre, like when you got your car licence and may have learned to drive with a family member or friend.

Everything you need to know about HGV Training - HGV Training Network

I have additional needs; will my HGV training take longer?

When you apply for your HGV licence, you have a legal obligation to inform the DVLA if you have a learning disability or health condition that could impact on your driving. But, as long as you pass the medical examination there is no reason this should affect your HGV training. 

As each learner receives one-to-one support when they start HGV driver training with HGVTN, there is no reason that your HGV driver training should take longer than any other driver, especially if you have any adaptations that you need. 

However, if it does take you longer, try not to fret. We will support you for as long as you need to succeed.  

How long do I have to pass my practical HGV training?

The good news is, that when you receive your provisional HGV licence ready to start your training, you have plenty of time to learn and build your confidence on the UK roads before it expires. 

This will differ depending on your age but lasts on average around 5 years if the driver is aged 45 or over. 

For more information, why not contact our friendly team on 0800 254 5007 – they would be happy to advise you. 

What is your role on the road as an HGV driver?

As a heavy goods vehicle driver, your responsibilities are much different from those of a car driver or bus driver.

For example, you must be able to:

  • Deal with a wide variety of vehicles on the road—from cars and vans to buses and motorbikes. 
  • You must be able to drive in narrow spaces that other drivers don’t have access to, such as between two rows of parked cars, regardless of the size of your vehicle. 
  • Be able to follow the HGV-specific rules for loading and unloading freight to help keep everyone safe on the road.
  • Many, many more

If you want to drive responsibly as an HGV operator, then you need some training so that you can know how best not only to stay safe but also be responsible for such large vehicles.

Does bad weather affect HGV training time?

Although you may need to take extra care if the roads are icy or there is a lot of surface water, bad weather shouldn’t affect your HGV training, unless the area is hit with real weather extremes, like blizzards or flooding. 

Training in poor weather can actually be very helpful and stand you in very good stead when you are out on the roads driving professionally! 

Is it faster to take HGV training in rural areas?

HGV training in rural areas should take roughly the same amount of time as HGV training in the UK’s cities or towns, so there is no real reason the location of where you live should affect training time. 

You may find that your lessons may run slightly longer if you live in areas of high traffic, but this shouldn’t affect your overall training time. 

Will HGV training take longer in busy areas?

You should also not find that HGV training in busy areas increases how long it takes for you to complete your training, even if you do hit instances of traffic or busy periods on the roads. 

Learning how to handle very busy roads is also great practice, as handling such large vehicles can be complex in smaller, more densely populated areas.

Start high-quality HGV training with HGVTN

The best way to get your HGV training started is by going through an approved training provider like us at HGV Training Network. 

Here at HGVTN, we pride ourselves on providing the most experienced driving instructors, who can give you all the information and support you need before you get behind the wheel for your HGV driving test!

We are committed to our student’s success, a factor that is evident in everything we do and is supported by our excellent reviews from past students who are now driving professionally for a living. We also offer a variety of resources, support services, and finance options to help our students succeed. Why not contact us today to learn more about what we can do for you?