The Typical Career Path of an HGV Driver

The role of an HGV driver is not just about the driving. Throughout their careers, drivers get the opportunity to travel the country, meet amazing people and transport unusual and unique freight. 98% of goods are moved by road in the UK, and without HGV drivers promptly delivering goods to businesses all over the country, many industries would grind to a halt.

Why are new drivers so important for industry?

The UK is currently suffering a shortage of approximately 60,000 HGV drivers. The average driver in the UK is age 53, and with a lack of younger drivers in the industry, the logistics sector is feeling the pinch with not enough drivers to transport goods. There has never been a better time to join the transport sector, and with businesses needing drivers more than ever, your job opportunities are endless.

What qualifications are needed?

There are several licences that HGV drivers can acquire. Each licence relates to the weight of the vehicle and drivers can apply for additional licences to handle specialist vehicles such as ADR (hazardous goods) or HIAB.

Step 1- Class 2 (rigid)

Class 2 (also known as Cat C) allows drivers to handle Category C ‘rigid’ vehicles: LGVs with a trailer that has a maximum authorised mass of up to 750kg.

What is needed?

To begin your HGV Class 2 licence, you must be 18 years old or older and hold a full driving licence.

How long does it take?

A Class 2 licence (Category C) licence training takes 5 days but acquiring the licence can take up to 6 weeks.

What is involved?

The first step in obtaining your Category C licence is applying for a provisional lorry licence from the DVLA. For every HGV licence you must undergo a full medical test to check that you are capable of driving a large vehicle and lifting goods. Next, you’ll need to pass a four-part theory test called the Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) which aims to improve road safety and driving standards and needs to be followed in order to stay roadworthy. The Driver CPC requires a 35-hour refresher training programme for drivers every five years to maintain high standards on the roads, and once passed, drivers must always keep proof of their driver CPC.

Day-to-day duties of a Category C HGV driver include travelling between distributors, suppliers and consumers and loading and unloading the vehicle. As a Cat C driver there are great opportunities for career progression, and as your experience increases so should your salary and responsibilities. 

Step 2- Class 1 (Artic)

A Class 1 licence allows you to drive any HGV weighing over 3,500kg with a trailer that weighs over 750kg.

What is needed?

In order to acquire a Class 1 HGV driver licence (Cat C+E), you must be over the age of 18, hold a full driving licence, a Driver CPC and a Category C driving licence. To become a Class 1 driver, you must also have a Category E licence which allows drivers to handle vehicles that weigh over 750kg which have a trailer attached.

How long does it take?

A Class 1 licence takes 6-8 weeks to obtain.

What is involved?

If you are looking to progress your HGV career, gaining a Class 1 licence is an excellent way to boost your earning potential. A Class 1 licence is above the standard for professional drivers and will give you the opportunity to find a wider choice of jobs. Day to day duties of a Class 1 HGV driver include transporting goods and loading and unloading a heavier vehicle.


To expand your opportunities further, specialist HGV training is available. Categories which require an additional licence include:

  • Dangerous goods including explosives
  • Lorry mounted cranes
  • Vehicle mounted fork-lift


The Vehicle Mounted lift truck operator training course (also known as Moffett) gives you the skills to operate a vehicle mounted forklift.


HIAB driver training teaches health and safety responsibilities, pre-use checks, use of attachments and restraints, hydraulic controls, stability and mobility factors and the operating in open and confined environments of a lorry mounted crane.


The ADR is a specialist test for drivers of vehicles which carry dangerous or hazardous goods in bulk by road. Having an ADR certification is a great way to increase your earning potential as there is a high demand for trained ADR drivers. The training is split into modules and your choices will depend on the type of hazardous materials you will be transporting. ADR training substance categories include gases, toxic substances and corrosives among others.

How can Savanna help?

Savanna Staff Solutions is a specialist driver recruitment and training provider based in Uxbridge, providing professional, experienced HGV drivers throughout London and the South East. If you would like to become one of our drivers, register here or call us on 0330 335 8367. The industry-leading MySavanna Programme gives you the opportunity for clear career progression where you can learn new skills, increase your earning potential and develop your career.

Our office is open 6am – 6pm Monday – Friday

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