Haulage can be an extremely rewarding trade both financially and personally. It’s relatively straightforward to get started. New entrants get a decent salary. There’s also plenty of room for progression if that’s what you want. If you’re interested in a career in haulage.
Here is a quick guide to what you need to know.
There are plenty of routes to employment
If you fancy seeing the world and getting paid to do so, then there are HGV-driving positions where you can do that. If, on the other hand, you want to work steady hours fairly near to your home, there are HGV-driving positions where you can do that too. Likewise, you can stick to driving standard HGVs or train to drive specialist ones.
Another option would be to use HGV driving as a bridge to an alternative career path. For example, you could enrol on distance-learning courses (e.g., with the Open University). You would then end up with a combination of an academic qualification and real-world work experience. This is hugely attractive to many employers.
Being an HGV driver can also set you up for self-employment or running your own business. In fact, you can go self-employed as an HGV driver. It is, however, often best to get some experience as an employee first.
The reason why HGV-driving is such good training for being an entrepreneur is that HGV drivers have a high level of independence. In general, HGV drivers are given a list of collections and deliveries they need to make. They can use their own judgement on how they go about planning and completing their route.
It’s relatively straightforward to get the necessary training
Assuming you already have a regular driver’s licence, you could get your basic HGV certification in as little as a month. That assumes that you’re doing it full-time and can commit to studying outside your course hours.
Training centres are, however, well aware that this isn’t an option for everyone. That’s why many of them run flexible courses. If you’re fitting in HGV training around other commitments, then 3-6 months is likely to be a more realistic time frame. Even so, that’s still a lot quicker than a degree or apprenticeship.
What’s more, at present, there are more opportunities than ever for getting funding. The government has (finally) recognised the important role HGV drivers play in the economy. It is therefore providing literally thousands of sponsored places on HGV-driving training courses.
There is a massive demand for new recruits
The reason the government is sponsoring these training places is that the haulage industry desperately needs them. Firstly, the sector is on a clear growth trend. This is largely due to the continued growth in ecommerce. Clearly, this growth trend cannot be expected to last forever. It does, however, appear to be set to continue for the foreseeable future.
Secondly, older drivers are retiring. New recruits, therefore, need to be ready, in place, to take over. Thirdly, under current rules, the UK haulage industry can no longer recruit drivers from overseas. In principle, the government could update these rules. In practice, the fact that they are funding so many training places, strongly suggests that they do not plan to do this.
Modern HGVs are comfortable to drive
The haulage industry has long since grasped the fact that keeping HGV drivers comfortable encourages them to stay in the trade. Modern HGVs are therefore built for comfort (as well as safety).
Working practices are also designed with driver comfort in mind. For example, haulage companies require HGV drivers to take regular breaks. They encourage drivers to use those breaks in a way that promotes their health. HGV drivers who make long-distance trips can also expect comfortable overnight accommodation.
It’s also a lot easier for HGV drivers to keep in touch with family and friends while on the road. The (mobile) internet has done a lot to make HGV driving much less of a solitary trade.