Large goods vehicle (LGV) drivers distribute millions of tonnes of goods around the UK, as well as to and from the Continent.
LGVs carry a wide variety of cargo. For example, they may:
An LGV driver:
Collection and delivery times affect driver hours. They are also restricted to a legal maximum of 60 hours per week, and an average of 48 hours. Night work will usually not exceed 10 hours in each 24-hour period, unless agreed otherwise.
The majority of a driver's time is spent alone in the lorry cab, even eating and sleeping there. Modern lorry cabs are usually comfortable, quiet, and may have air-conditioning and heating. Some have sleeping bunks, fridges and even cookers.
Physical demands on drivers vary, with some only opening the doors of the trailer for loading or unloading by specialist staff and equipment, while others help load and unload.
Starting salaries for newly-qualified drivers may be around £18,000.
There are around 600,000 LGV drivers in the UK. The industry is expanding and there is currently a shortage of qualified drivers.
Some drivers are self-employed, driving their own lorry. Others work for a manufacturer, major retailer or distributor with a fleet of vehicles. Some work for road haulage firms that move loads on behalf of other companies.
Vacancies are usually advertised in local and regional newspapers, and can also be found on the website, www.careersinlogistics.co.uk.
At present, no specific qualifications are needed to become an LGV driver. Employers may prefer candidates with some GCSE's/S grades (A-E/1-5), especially in English and maths.
The LGV licence is divided into two categories:
A category C licence is required to drive a rigid tuck over 3.5 tonnes up to 32 tonnes.
Category C1 is restricted up to 7.5 tonnes.
Category C + E is required to drive any LGV vehicle usually up to the legal maximum weight of 44 tonnes (including articulated lorries, additional trailers or drawbar combinations).
Under new EU laws, from September 2009 all new LGV drivers will also have to train for a Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (Driver CPC) at the same time as their LGV licence.
Younger entrants may be able to join the Young LGV Driver Training Scheme, managed by Skills for Logistics. It is open to candidates aged between 16 and 21, and offers a fast-track route to a full LGV licence and an NVQ/SVQ at Level 2. It allows some individuals to get a licence at 18.
Apprenticeships and Advanced Apprenticeships provide structured training with an employer. As an apprentice you must be paid at least £95 per week; you may well be paid more. A recent survey found that the average wage for apprentices was £170 a week. Your pay will depend on the sector in which you work, your age, the area where you live and the stage at which you have arrived in the Apprenticeship.
Entry to Employment (e2e) can help to prepare those who are not yet ready for an Apprenticeship. In addition, Young Apprenticeships may be available for 14- to 16-year-olds. More information is available from a Connexions personal adviser or at www.apprenticeships.org.uk.
There are different arrangements for Apprenticeships in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
LGV training courses last from one to three weeks. They cover driving skills, basic mechanics, and loading and securing loads.
NVQ's/SVQ's are available in Driving Goods Vehicles at
Levels 2 and 3.
LGV drivers who drive vehicles carrying dangerous goods are legally required to hold an Advisory Dangerous Goods by Road (ADR) certificate. Initial training takes five days, and certificates need to be renewed with a three-day refresher course after five years.
From September 2009, all existing LGV drivers will have to do 35 hours of training every five years as part of the Driver CPC regulations.
Drivers can also train for the Operator's Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC), which is designed to show that the individual has attained a set level of knowledge in the major areas of their profession. This qualification may support driver progression into management roles, and enable them to own and operate their own vehicles.
As an ambulance technician you would respond to accident and emergency calls, as well as a range of planned and unplanned non-emergency cases. You would usually work in a team, providing support to a paramedic during the assessment, diagnosis and treatment of patients at the scene of an incident and during hospital transfers.
You may use life saving skills as part of your day-to-day work.
LGV drivers need:
Career progression to supervisory positions is possible, including in distribution or haulage management, transport and logistics planning, LGV instruction, or a specialised area of driving, such as hazardous goods.
Drivers achieving an Operator's CPC may be able to start their own company.
Driving Standards Agency (DSA), Stanley House,
56 Talbot Street, Nottingham NG1 5GU
Tel: 0115 901 2500
Freight Transport Association (FTA),
Hermes House, St John's Road,
Tunbridge Wells, Kent TN4 9UZ
Tel: 0871 711 2222
Additional resources for job seekers and those already in a job.