Dream jobs are a hot topic at the moment – and they usually come with a pretty unrealistic checklist. A role that takes you halfway around the world. One that has you mixing with sports stars and chart toppers. Something where you get to use cutting-edge tech and groundbreaking design.
So how would you feel if we told you there was a career that ticks every single one of those boxes. And more! Ready for the big reveal? It’s…. Truck driving!
Modern road haulage is lightyears away from the traditional image of the dirty, smelly environment most people think of, with no regulation or control. Truck drivers in the 21st century are protected by all sorts of beneficial legislation – they’re highly regulated, highly qualified members of a thoroughly modern workforce. And their job is vital to keeping the country supplied with everything we need to eat, work, live and enjoy our leisure time.
Modern supply chains mean deliveries are often scheduled to arrive at their destination down to the minute. So today’s truck drivers need the skills to match. Efficient, competent drivers who understand their vehicles, their routes, and how to get the best from both. After passing a medical examination, and undertaking a theory and practical driving test, potential drivers need to undertake a course called a Driver CPC (Certificate of Professional Competence) before they can take to the road – it’s not just jumping into the cab and driving off. The Driver CPC is a set of standards that allow you to drive for a living, and they need to be refreshed every five years via a 35 hour course.
You might have come across content covering the introduction of self-driving HGVs, which are already in development around the world. Often, this content asks whether these vehicles could mean job losses for drivers. But that’s unlikely to be the case in the UK. Our extensive road network needs the human touch to navigate, so we’re likely to see the best of both – the driver as a ‘pilot’, in control of the automatic systems which power the vehicle, rather than driving manually themselves.
So many of these kinds of misconceptions are common. Just like the impression many people have that truck driving means long hours for low pay. The hours drivers can work are heavily controlled by the law to ensure the safety of both the truck drivers themselves and other road users. That makes HGV driving a great career for anyone with family commitments or valuable leisure time. Wages have also risen significantly over the past few years following a significant shortage in qualified drivers – Generation Logistics now estimates that a qualified HGV driver can earn more than £35,000 a year after completing the necessary training.
But what about the work itself? It’s not just about moving pallets of goods from A to B. Think about all the cool stuff that needs to get on the road! Rock stars with gear to move between cities on international tours. Sporting events moving their merchandise and equipment. Galleries and museums transporting some of the most valuable artworks on the planet. That’s logistics, and it’s all thanks to talented HGV drivers and the teams who coordinate their activity down to the minute.
You’ll need focus, timekeeping and attention to detail – records and accountability are an important part of the job – but you’ll also need to be a good problem solver, coping with unexpected delays, changes to route or bad weather.
You might end up driving a huge HGV, or a smaller truck, and modern fleets contain all sorts of vehicles with all sorts of high tech equipment. But at the end of the day, whatever you drive, you’ll be playing your part in keeping Britain – and the world – moving. The rewards are endless!