Class 1 Driver Jobs
A HGV Class 1 (now renamed as LGV Category C + E) driving licence is the highest level available in the truck driving field. It entitles the holder to drive commercial (non-passenger) vehicles of all types, sizes and weights, making it the most flexible of all the licence categories available.
Class 1 licence holders can drive vehicles including lorries with or without trailers, rigid side trucks, box vans, removal vans, refuse trucks, tippers, and artics.
Getting the licence
Some people choose to pay for an intensive HGV training course, others are sponsored by their employer, as a perk or via a company trainee scheme. Apprenticeships HGV schemes are also available.
The process is pretty straightforward. As well as a medical there are two tests potential HGV drivers must pass before attempting the road test. The theory test covers road rules and typical Highway Code topics, as well as some specialized information relating to HGV driving in particular. It is designed to meet Driver CPC Training standards, and an 80% pass rate is required.
The practical side concentrates on maneuvers such as reversing, turning and using mirrors in a large vehicle.
Types of work available
New, self funding HGV drivers often gain experience by taking on agency work, while those at the other end of the scale sometime choose to work independently as owner-drivers. Agency work may be local or long haul, while self employed drivers have the opportunity to develop a schedule which suits them.
Typical driving jobs include:
- Local runs. Although a lot of this type of work features small parcel delivery, which only requires a class 2 or 3 HGV licence, there are still plenty of jobs where your patch is within driving distance of home, making overnight stays unnecessary.
- Regional – this can mean working across a county, for example Suffolk, or a much bigger space, such as the south-east, or Scotland. This kind of work may involve spending several evenings a week away from home.
- Long distance – this can involve trucking all around the country, and perhaps in Europe too. Long haul drivers can be away for home for several weeks at a time. These jobs often involve the biggest ad heaviest lorries.
Class 1 driver roles and responsibilities
Although a driver’s specific duties will vary between different jobs, the following are things many HGV class 1 drivers may need to demonstrate:
- excellent driving skills, regardless of weather conditions or type of road
- the ability to take and pass tests
- a commitment to ongoing training
- a good awareness of road rules and laws, and road transport regulations
- above average knowledge of geography/the ability to read and follow maps or directions
- the ability to navigate unfamiliar roads
- that they are capable of loading and unloading goods if required
- knowledge of safely handling hazardous materials (if relevant)
- the ability to carry out a daily vehicle check and address any issues that raises
- at least a basic knowledge of truck maintenance
- that they can work as a team when needed
- a pleasant attitude if the work involves interacting with customers
- the ability to maintain detailed admin records
Pay and perks
HGV drivers generally work between 42 – 48 hours a week, and daily driving hours are restricted by law. Overtime may be available, especially for drivers who combine driving with other work.
Paid holidays average around 28 days a year, pro-rated for non full time drivers.
The average salary for a HGV class 1 driver is around £32,000 a year, and experienced or specialised drivers can earn over 40k. Bonuses, company shares, subsidized private health insurance, and discounts on goods the company sell are common perks offered to drivers. Expenses to cover overnight stays while working are standard.
The highlights of class 1 HGV driving work
- A good amount of independence
- Variety in day to day work
- Good salary and plenty of jobs to choose from
- Opportunities exist to become self employed down the line
- Drivers can study for specialist qualifications and earn more cash
And the drawbacks
- Hours can be long and unsociable
- Driving for many hours can be stressful
- Some paperwork is compulsory