Find a career that will have you going places!
Searching for a new challenge? If you love driving, there could be a fun and engaging career that you haven't considered. Here in the UK, we're currently facing a shortage of lorry drivers. You might have already read all about it in the news. The latest estimates state that the country is down by around 100,000 drivers from pre-pandemic numbers. That's a huge gap in the market.
However, the good news is that there are plenty of vacancies to fill. If you're looking for a new role, finding work as a lorry driver is sure to be relatively straightforward. Ahead of qualifying for this position, there are some things you should know. Here are five facts to get you started.
1. Getting the right qualifications is essential
Just because you've got a UK driving licence, it doesn't mean that you can jump into a lorry and start your new job. Instead, you'll need to ensure that you have all of the right qualifications ahead of time. First things first, you'll need to apply for your lorry drivers' provisional licence, which involves sending in a completed D4 medical form. When you've done that, the next step is to complete both your practical and theory lorry drivers' tests. You will need to do these even though you already have a driving licence.
It doesn't end there. Getting all of the above will mean that you can drive a lorry. However, it doesn't give you the legal right to drive a lorry professionally. For that, you will need to get your Driver's Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC). You might want to take an online course or find a centre near you. Gaining this qualification will mean that you can drive lorries for work and start looking for employment.
2. You will have some serious job security
One of the reasons that people choose a career in lorry (or HGV) driving is because it's a secure job. Of course, there's currently a huge demand for lorry drivers here in the UK. However, you should know that there are always loads of roles in this sector. The reason is simple: the logistics industry is booming. Companies around the world need drivers to transport stock to various locations, such as commercial outlets, factories, and more. Since the world of ecommerce is thriving, you won't be short of work.
Needless to say, one of the things that people worry about here is driverless vehicles. Yes, there may be a future in which driverless vehicles rule the roads, but that is still a long way off, according to most experts. There's a plethora of infrastructure that needs to be put in place before this can happen. That should come as a relief for anyone who is considering getting a job in the world of lorry driving.
3. The average salary is decent, too
Next up, let's talk about money. One of the most important things that you need to know before you start a new career is how much you can expect to make. According to Total Jobs, the average salary for a UK lorry driver is £32,500 per year. On the higher end of the scale, you can expect to make around £37,500. Of course, the amount that you make will depend on the company you work for and your hours. Since there are both full-time and part-time jobs in this sector, it's worth looking at the options ahead of time.
4. There are plenty of travel opportunities
One of the most important reasons that people choose to become a lorry driver is to travel. If life on the open road is calling your name, you might just find that this is the career path for you. When you become an official HGV driver, you never know where your day-to-day job may take you. Should you work for an international company, for example, you might find yourself travelling all around the globe. Once you've completed all of your official qualifications, it's worth considering what you want from your role.
Of course, if you have family constraints and need to be based in one place all of the time, there will be local jobs that fit the bill. However, if you've got a case of wanderlust, looking for a company that will have you travelling from country to country could be a fun move. The fact is that this is a job that you can make your own, that gives you the flexibility that you need. Take the time to think about what you want.
5. The hours are long (but not too long!)
Worried about long hours of driving solo? One of the obstacles that often stands in people's way here is the perception that you will be driving for too long. However, there are laws and guidelines that stop that from happening. When you're a trained HGV driver, the working limit is nine hours each day. That means that you won't be doing killer 12-hour shifts. That's a myth! Additionally, you can only work for 56 hours each week or 90 hours in two weeks. You should clarify all of this with your employer, too.
It goes without saying that frequent breaks are also important. It's dangerous to drive a large vehicle, like a lorry, when you're feeling tired. For that reason, there are certain regulations in place to protect your safety. You need to take 45 hours of rest every single week. Similarly, you will need to rest for 45 minutes every four hours when you're driving. These measures help you stay safe at all times.
Ready to embark on a career on the open road? If you're looking for a new job that will have you going place - literally - lorry driving could be the answer. Why not take the time to look into the qualifications today? The more that you learn about this exciting and in-demand role, the better you will know whether it's the right fit for you. Do your research and give it a go!
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