Deciding to drive HGVs is a great idea which opens up a world of employment to you. You’ll be able to apply for permanent jobs with companies, as well as being able to sign up for agency work or to go it alone as a freelancer. Just like anything else, though, you’ll need to make sure you have the skills to do the job. In order to show that you’re capable of driving an HGV, you’ll need to get certified. You won’t be allowed on the roads without the right licence.
Finding a training centre or a teacher to drive a car is a pretty straightforward process. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said of learning to drive HGVs. Rather than plumping for the nearest one to your home, or the cheapest one, there are several other factors which you need to take into consideration.
The tests you need to take are administered by the DVSA. However, schools that advertise themselves as DVSA test training centres don’t actually need to have registered instructors working for them. This is different from when you learned to drive a car. For cars, driving instructors need to registered with the DVSA to make sure that they know the best teaching methods and can guide you through them safely. The lack of regulation around large goods vehicles instruction means that anyone who has held a large goods vehicle licence for three years or more can legally teach you. That’s why you’ll find some schools without any registered instructors.
While the lack of regulation means that there is no incentive for good instructors to get qualified as such, it also leaves you open to being trained up by someone who can drive well, but doesn’t necessarily know how to teach. A good way to get around this is to read instructor reviews and catch up with former students to get their feedback.
After you’ve checked out the centre’s vehicles and read some good reviews, you can narrow down your search further by finding out which instructors actually are qualified. You can ask to see any relevant certificates from the DVSA or RTITB. This type of checking up is definitely worth it. The wrong teacher can end up costing you a lot of time and money. A qualified instructor can get you up to standard in a short time, thus saving money on retests and making you ready to start earning.
If you are happy with an instructor, make sure that they will personally train you. You don’t want to be sold a course only to find that the person you talked to won’t be training you at all. The same principle goes for the vehicles. If you’re shown a bunch of shiny, modern HGVs but end up in a clapped-out banger that ends up breaking down on your test, you’ll be less than happy. Be sure to know whether you’ll be taking your test in a manual or automatic. As long as you have a car licence for a manual, you’ll receive the same entitlement on your LGV licence even if you take the test in an automatic. Most companies are operating modern automatic transmission vehicles these days, anyway.
Happy with the instructor and the vehicles? Now it’s time to take a closer look at the course. If you’ve signed up for five days of training, you want to know how much of that is actually spent driving. It’s no good being in the classroom for four days and behind the wheel for just one. Yet time in the classroom is important for understanding new techniques.
With all of this information, you should be able to choose a very good training school. There are still very many good schools around the country and it’s important that you find the best one you can. This will help you save money which you could well need once qualified. For example, if you’re going to work as a freelancer, you’ll have the accounting and insurance costs of setting up for yourself. Once you’re at that stage, apply the same principles to finding the right accountant or insurer, just as you did when finding the right school. You can find more information on HGV insurance policies at https://www.onesureinsurance.co.uk/hgv-insurance/.