When working towards a qualification as a Heavy Goods Vehicle driver, you will find that there are various routes open to you. Any individual wishing to drive this type of vehicle professionally needs to be fully trained and in possession of either a HGV or a LGV licence. When pursuing a professional driving licence, it is possible to choose a licence from category C1, category C, or category C and E, alongside the mandatory Driver CPC.

• The Driver CPC

The Driver CPC is certificate of professional competence, the standard qualification all professionals need to be qualified as professional HGV drivers. To gain the Driver CPC qualification, you must partake in a four-part examination involving two theory tests and two practical tests. Once the CPC is attained, you will be required to complete 35 hours of periodic training every five years; it is essential that medical examinations be completed every five years to keep the qualification valid.

• Category C1

Category C1 is the first and the most basic level of HGV training and licensing available. This licence is essential as a step up from the regular UK driver’s licence; therefore, allowing you to drive any vehicle weighing 3,500 kg and under 7.5 tonnes in gross weight. There are few limitations to the type of vehicle that can be driven. Any individual who passed their driver’s test before 1997 will automatically hold a category C1 licence, so it is worth checking to see if this applies to your licensing.

• Category C

The category C licence will allow the driver to drive vehicles weighing over 3.5 tonnes, but the vehicle must not exceed 32 tonnes. A category C licence, also known as a class 2 licence, will typically cover vehicles with cabs and trailers fixed permanently together. What is considered a ‘standard lorry’ can be driven using this licence but it must not exceed 750 kilograms. The category C licence is highly beneficial as a stepping stone to HGV training; however, you must be over 18 to hold this licence.

• Category C and E

A category C and E licence is the most comprehensive HGV licence a person can hold. The category C and E licence allow an individual to drive and handle a draw bar or articulated vehicle. The E section of this licence refers to ‘entitlement‘, which means that the driver can drive a vehicle up to and over 750 kg in weight. The category C and E licence is also known as the class 1 licence allowing the driver to drive large goods-style vehicles with a double trailer when needed.

Final Words on the Matter

While the statuses of the above discussed licences do not vary, the details can vary in some cases and it is important to stay updated. Furthermore, it is vital that you hold a CPC to qualify for any of the licenses mentioned. To do this, you need to complete a minimum 35 hours of periodic training every five years.