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If you’ve got designs on becoming a professional lorry driver, then you’ve got an exciting career ahead of you – one that can earn you upwards of £36k per year when qualified as a class 1 driver. However, while an HGV licence is the minimum requirement for this kind of work, they’re not all the same – something that we examine in this article.

Understanding the range of HGV qualifications is crucial for anyone looking to pursue a career in logistics, freight transport, or any field requiring the operation of heavy vehicles. So, let’s take a look at an overview of the different licences available in the UK and what they cover.


Cat C1 HGV Licence 

First, we look at the Category C1 Licence, which is essentially the entry-level HGV lience, and it’s one that allows the holder to drive vehicles that weigh between 3,500kg and 7,500kg maximum authorised mass (MAM, i.e. the weight of the vehicle plus max load) – with a trailer up to 750kg. When you obtain this licence, it enables you to drive smaller goods vehicles, such as:

This category covers smaller trucks and larger vans that are used for light haulage or transport duties. This licence is often the first step for those looking to start a career in HGV driving.


Category C1+E Licence

The next step up on the scale is the Cat C1+E HGV licence. This licence allows the holder to drive C1 category vehicles, along with a trailer over 750kg. However, there is a stipulation that the combined weight of both vehicles should not be over 12,000kg. Possessing this licence offers greater professional versatility and can open up work in a number of spheres.

This licence is ideal for anyone looking to transport larger loads greater than what’s permissible with just a C1 licence, offering greater flexibility in terms of cargo weight and size.


Category C Licence

The Category C licence, also commonly referred to as a Class 2 licence, allows drivers to operate vehicles over 3,500 kg (with a trailer up to 750 kg). There is no upper weight limit, making it the standard licence for driving rigid vehicles. Holding this licence is essential for anyone intending to look for work driving delivery trucks, refuse collection vehicles, and other medium-sized vehicles that transport goods.

Most HGV drivers take their Cat C licence before obtaining a Cat C+E licence (described below), although it is possible to take both at the same time.


Category C+E Licence

The highest rung on the HGV licence ladder is the Category C+E licence, which is also known as the Class 1 licence. As the most advanced HGV driving licence, it qualifies the driver to operate vehicles over 3,500kg with a trailer exceeding 750kg MAM. Work for professionals holding this licence includes driving vehicles such as:

The Cat C+E licence offers the flexibility to operate a diverse range of heavy vehicles, making it invaluable for careers in logistics, construction, and specialized transport services.


Additional Considerations

There are other criteria that you need to think about on the journey to obtaining your HGV licence, as well as other steps that need to be completed. Here’s a brief rundown of what’s required.

Meeting these criteria is essential for anyone looking to pursue a career as an HGV driver in the UK. Rather than representing obstacles to your ambitions, they ensure that you are equipped with the necessary skills, knowledge, and legal qualifications to operate heavy goods vehicles safely and efficiently.


A Host of Career Opportunities in the HGV Sector 

Understanding the range of HGV licence groups that exist is the first step on the road to becoming a professional driver in the truck driving industry. The licence you aim for depends much on the type of work you want to be doing and the path you want your career to take.

Obtaining the right HGV licence opens up a variety of career opportunities in the transport and logistics sectors, and each category is tailored to specific vehicle weights and types. Whether you see yourself as a Class 2 lorry driver on deliver runs or a Class 1 flammable tanker driver, the route you want to pursue is very much up to you.


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