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Should You Become A Class 1 HGV Driver?

HGV Training Centre

If you’re looking to become a HGV driver, now or in the future, then you will need to make some choices around the type of licence you train for. Each HGV licence is different, and gives you access to different kinds of jobs, with different types of pay grade. So beyond the standard Driver CPC that everyone has to take, the licence you choose can have a real impact on your future career.

The Class 1 licence is one the highest licence qualifications you can hold – but it takes a lot of work to get there. So before you start down that road, let us tell you what it involves, and what the rewards can be.


What Will A Class 1 Licence Let You Drive?

As you probably know by now each HGV licence class allows you to drive a slightly different type of HGV. Some will only let you drive the smallest, while others will move you up the weight classes. The Class 1 is considered the ‘top tier’ HGV licence, and will let you drive any vehicle up to and over 7.5 tonnes, with or without a detachable trailer of any weight.

In order to even start training for your Class 1 licence, you will need to do a lot of legwork first. One of the biggest requirements is that you need to have your Class 2 (or Cat C) HGV licence. To do this you will need to go through a medical exam, a theory test and your Driver CPC test. Once you’ve done all of this, you can go for your Class 1 licence. Because the Class 1 licence gives you access to the widest variety of sizes of vehicles, it also gives you the biggest choice of job roles, and really opens up your earning potential as a HGV driver.


Your Job As A Class 1 Driver

Your main job as a HGV driver will be to drive the HGV. That much is pretty obvious. But there are a lot of other things you will need to do to, including:

  • The planning of delivery routes to ensure optimum efficiency
  • Ensuring all goods to be transported are safe and secure
  • Supervision of loading and unloading goods
  • Coordinating deliveries and communicating with customers about pick up and drop off
  • Conducting regular ‘walk around’ inspections to ensure regulation compliance
  • Vehicle maintenance to ensure your HGV is roadworthy
  • Communicating with customers and asking questions

So, as well as being a competent driver, you will also need:

  • Good communication skills
  • Great organisation
  • Patience and understanding
  • Mechanical maintenance skills
  • The ability to manage stress effectively

Every HGV driver’s job is slightly different, so no matter what company you end up working for (or if you decide to start up on your own), every day will be different.


What About License Upgrades?

Almost every HGV licence has an upgrade path – giving HGV drivers the space to have a career progression from wherever they start. And even though the Class 1 licence is the ‘top of the pile’, there is still more room for improvement. In particular, there are 2 ‘enhancements’ you can add to your Class 1 license to open up more varied – and better paid – work. These are:

HIAB Enhancement: HIAB stands for Hydrauliska Industri AB – shortened to HIAB, and this licence allows you to drive and operate any type of lorry loader crane. Because this is an enhancement, you can do this training in as little as 2-3 days, and it can help boost your earnings to £22K – £31K, depending on where in the country you’re working.

ADR Enhancement: The ADR Enhancement allows any HGV driver with a Class 1 license to transport hazardous goods across Europe. This can open up a lot of opportunities for drivers, as this kind of license is in high demand. With the ADR Enhancement, you can transport:

  • Flammable substances
  • Toxic substances
  • Corrosive and highly corrosive substances
  • Explosives
  • Radioactive materials

And more. There is a specific training course for this licence, and it opens up the prospect of you earning anywhere between £32K and £40K as a driver.


At The HGV Training Centre, we can support you not only in training for your Class 1 licence, but we can also help you find a job with that qualification once you’ve achieved it. If you would like to know more about how we can help, just get in touch with the team today.

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