Spotlight on driving jobs

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If you have excellent driving skills and enjoy being out and about, how about choosing a job as a driver?

The logistics sector is currently experiencing a real shortage of drivers, particularly those who have HGV/LGV licences.

And with thousands of businesses and organisations needing to shift goods on a daily basis all over the UK - as well as overseas - it might be a great time to join the industry.

Here we highlight three sample driving jobs, plus some skills that will come in handy.

Job: HGV/LGV driver

Picture a life on the road, and an HGV (Heavy Goods Vehicle) or LGV (Large Goods Vehicle) driver probably springs to mind.

In this job, you’ll be transporting anything and everything to customers, suppliers or distributors either in the UK or overseas.

Although most of your time will be spent on motorways between destinations, there’s more to this role than driving. You’ll also find yourself:

  • Planning delivery schedules and routes.
  • Ensuring cargo is safely secured.
  • Overseeing, or helping with, loading and unloading cargo.
  • Completing paperwork and log books on delivery.

Depending on where you’re heading, you may need to stay away overnight, sleeping in the cab of your vehicle. It’s important to stick to the rules on how many hours you can drive for and rest breaks to take when you’re working.

Apart from good driving skills and thorough knowledge of road safety, you’ll need to work well alone (or with a driver’s mate) and be a motivated self-starter.

There are a few things you’ll need before you train for a HGV/LGV licence: you must be over 18; already hold a full car driving licence and also get a Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC).

As a guide, the National Careers Service estimates that a starter HGV driver salary is between £18,500 and £22,000, rising to up to £35,000 for a highly experienced driver.

Job: Driver’s mate

Do you prefer being out and about rather than stuck in an office, yet don’t feel ready to drive a large vehicle? Perhaps you might suit a job as a driver’s mate instead.

This role involves travelling with the driver of a HGV/LGV vehicle, truck or van, helping them with loading or unloading or general support particularly on long journeys.

Your to-do list will also include helping the driver with tasks like:

  • Planning routes and navigating.
  • Packing and loading the vehicle.
  • Checking that the load is safe before setting off.
  • Parking and reversing.
  • Cleaning the vehicle and general maintenance.

You’ll normally need a full car driving licence to work as a driver’s mate, and it helps if you can demonstrate a good knowledge of vehicles and how they work.

Liaising with customers calls for a friendly, polite manner and completing delivery documents means that English and maths skills come in handy too.

Driver’s mates earn less than the driver they travel with. But working at weekends and at night can be a way to boost income.

Job: Van driver

The boom in online shopping means that van delivery drivers are more in demand than ever.

Working as a multi drop driver, you’ll make multiple deliveries to homes or businesses in a single journey. Cargo might range from parcels, letters and documents to bulkier items like groceries, furniture and equipment.

Some tasks you’ll take on as part of your job will include:

  • Planning your route.
  • Collecting goods from a warehouse or depot.
  • Loading your van efficiently.
  • Liaising with customers before delivery.
  • Delivering to customers.
  • Updating delivery records and completing paperwork.

You’ll need great driving skills, good eyesight and to be physically fit as the work can be demanding. English and maths skills are a bonus, too, as is being able to work to tight deadlines and complete paperwork efficiently.

You can drive a standard-sized van (weighing up to 3.500kg), on a car driving licence. However, if you passed your driving test in 1997 or after, you may need to take more tests before you can drive larger-sized vans or tow a trailer with a van.

According to the National Careers Service, you can expect to earn from £14,000 as a van driver. This can rise up to £27,000 if you're highly experienced.

More information

Find out more about these roles, as well as lots of other opportunities in driving here.

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