The first thing to note is that some people refer to it as an HGV licence and others may refer to it as an LGV licence. In fact the two terms are interchangeable and neither are the official terms for the vocational category that you gain on your licence. The official categories are C1 (Previously Class 3) C (Previously Class 2) and CE (Previously Class 1).
Depending on where you are starting there are a variety of steps and tests that you must complete in order to gain your desired licence.
Category C1 – Rigid Vehicle over 3.5 tonnes and up to 7.5 tonnes GVW
You must hold a full UK Car licence (Category B) and be 18 years old in order to apply for this licence. (It is worth noting that you can skip this licence out and go for the category C which will give you both the C1 and the C categories). If you want to gain the C1 category you will need to start at step one below.
Category C – Rigid Vehicle over 7.5 tonnes and up to 32 tonnes GVW
You must hold a full UK Car licence (Category B) and be 18 years old in order to apply for this licence. If you want to gain the C category you will need to start at step one below.
Category CE – Articulated vehicle up to 44 tonnes GVW
You must hold a full UK Category C licence and be 18 years old in order to apply for this licence. If you want to gain the CE category you will need to come along for an assessment drive (step 3) but then you can jump straight to step 6 below.
Driver Medical – No matter what your age in order to get a provisional licence for any of the vocational licence categories you must undertake a medical examination. This is a basic examination that covers a series of health related questions, basic eye test, blood pressure, height, weight etc. These can be completed by any qualified physician, you can expect to pay anywhere from £45 up but please be aware that some GP’s who do not often carry them out may try to charge much more.
Apply for your Provisional – Once you have a completed medical examination you will need to send off the medical (D4 form) along with a completed D2 form requesting provisional entitlement to be added to your licence for the chosen category. If you are doing a Medical at our centre we will provide all forms and assist you to complete them.
Assessment Drive – In order to know exactly how many hours of practical tuition you will need to get up to test standard we always prefer to go out on an assessment drive. This is a 15 minute drive around the local area with one of our instructors who will assess your driving ability and current driving habits. Based on this short assessment we will be able to give you an accurate estimate of the number of lessons required to get you to passing standard.
Part 1 Theory & Hazard Perception Test – Before you can step foot in a vehicle you must first pass your LGV Theory (part 1a) and hazard perception (part 1b). These tests will take place at an approved test centre close to you. You can not book your theory or hazard perception tests until you have the provisional category on your licence however if you are training with NEDs you will be given access to online study material while you are waiting.
Initial Driver CPC – If you are gaining your licence to drive professionally then you will need to complete your initial driver CPC by completing modules 2 & 4. Module 2 (case studies) is a computer based test which is carried out at an approved test centre near you and the Module 4 is a practical test carried out at an authorised DVSA Module 4 Testing facility such as the NEDs Training centre in Team Valley. Note – It is possible for drivers who already hold the C1 licence to have their Driver CPC (DQC – Driver Qualification Card) and therefore this requirement may not be required.
Practical Driving Tuition & Test – Finally you can get behind the wheel and start learning to drive and manoeuvre the category of vehicle that you are looking to drive. The category C1 and C vehicles are both very similar and as previously mentioned most people will go straight to category C as it gives you both categories. For these two categories the primary focus during the lessons is on safe handling and road positioning along with some time practising reversing manoeuvres.
When it comes to the C+E Category the focus is on the reversing manoeuvres and road positioning for the larger vehicle.
For all categories you will spend a number of consecutive days training before taking your test with a DVSA examiner.