Wed, March 01, 2023
Free HGV Training
From getting an HGV licence to then progressing to driving a truck professionally requires a substantial investment in both time and money.
It's not cheap and it is necessary to set aside time to study and train to gain your lorry licence.
With the opportunity to go direct to CE from B (Car to Class 1), thanks to a Government change in legislation back in November 2021, the cost has increased significantly. The reason being you will typically require more driver training going direct to Class 1 rather than less training acquiring your Class 2 (Cat C). More time behind the wheel will mean paying more for your HGV driver training.
For example, EP Training will deliver an 8 day course for Car to Class 1, whereas only a 4 day course will normally suffice when only Cat C, Class 2 is required.
To give you a ballpark figure, including medical, theory tests, Driver CPC and a proper driving course an average price you should have to pay for all this will be £3000 - £3,500. This will be if you are going direct to Class 1.
Choosing the Class 2, Rigid, Cat C with Driver CPC, Theory Tests and Driving should set you back in the region of £1,800 - £2,200.
The above prices should include Medical, Theory tuition, Theory tests, Driver CPC, Driver training, VAT etc. Looking at this option I am sure you will agree that it is a large sum of money.
Which leads me to the important part of this post. Can you get your HGV licence for free?
As far as the time investment needed to get your HGV licence, whether you’re paying for it yourself or someone else is, you will need to dedicate some serious time for medicals, theory tuition, driver training and Driver CPC.
As far as not paying for your HGV training, It's not a simple answer as yes or no. It's not binary, however I would say this old adage, "You Get Nothing in Life for Free"
Although there are a few options regarding free HGV training which shall be explored now:
Government Bootcamp Scheme
If you recall the chronic driver shortage this country experienced in the latter part of 2021, this was mainly a direct result from the pandemic and Brexit. However it’s worth noting there has always been a shortage of HGV drivers. It’s just Covid and Brexit made the situation a whole lot worse.
The Government, in an attempt to reduce the driver shortage, introduced a scheme where applicants can get all their training paid for them. The idea was that students would complete the whole process in as little as 3 months from medical to final test. That's a tall order at the best of times.
Thousands were enrolled onto the scheme yet it has not proven to be as successful as the Government claim it was and is.
Firstly, the contract to deliver "Bootcamp" was awarded NOT to the companies that would deliver the training. It was given to a small number of “Middlemen” companies that were good at winning contracts. This is never a good idea as middlemen with the HGV industry have a very poor track record of delivering what they promised.
A good example of this is System Group who recently went into administration leaving thousands of Bootcamp students with no licence and the taxpayer picking up the bill:
For many others who enrolled it has been over 12 months and they still have not got the HGV training they were promised. The scheme is now closed and the outcome of it all was little short of a disaster.
The Government has also made provision for “local job centres” to fund HGV driver training. There are criteria required to be met before any finance can be agreed such as being unemployed or on certain benefits. If you have no work currently and are in receipt of benefits then this may be a good option to fund your training. I would suggest perhaps going and visiting the Job Centre and see what they can offer.
The Government has made much noise about the merits of apprenticeships which can be funded via the training levy. The training levy is a pot of money made up from companies that contribute to the scheme. There are literally hundreds of millions of pounds in the pot and many companies have not taken advantage of the funding. The main reason being there are many hoops to jump through and boxes to tick to be awarded funding. As it is an apprenticeship the apprentice must be employed by the company whilst they are training. To find out more about this I suggest you have a look at the link below:
Will a Potential Employer Pay for My HGV?
If you are considering approaching potential employers and asking them to pay for your HGV licence then most will give you an emphatic ‘No’. Unless you are related to the boss or have been with the company for a while.
It seldom works if you just walk in off the street asking for a transport company to foot the bill for your truck licence. The only time a potential employer will pay for your training is if you go for your bus licence as nearly all bus and coach companies will train you without you fronting the money. However they will get you to sign a contract meaning you will have to work for them post training for normally 2 years.
For the haulage industry it has always been expected that you get your HGV Licence yourself and then get a job driving trucks.
I guess one of the main reasons for this is the time taken to get an HGV licence and the fact that there is no guarantee you will hang around once you have that HGV entitlement.
If, however, you have been working for the company for a time and the boss wants to invest in you then that is a good way to get your training for free.
Many people elect to finance their driver training via a loan. This is a good way of spreading the cost. When you consider the whole process of getting a truck licence will take maybe 8-12 weeks then it should not be too long before you are earning more money (as a truck driver) and can afford the repayments. A word of caution however there are many finance companies that charge an immense amount of interest.
EP Training used to work with one of these finance providers and we had to stop working with them as their APR was just way too high. I would strongly advise that if you do go down this route make sure the APR is reasonable and affordable.
A good option is to spread the payments over 3 months. EP offer an option where PayPal users can apply to spread the cost of the training over 3 months. The beauty of this is there is no interest to pay. As long as you make the 3 payments on time as agreed there are no penalties. OK you wont get your training for free and you will have to pay for it however spreading the costs with no interest seems to be a good idea. However please note if you do not keep to the agreed regular payments you will pay interest and penalties.
Another good way to get your HGV licence is to stick the cost on a credit card. We are not talking about a credit card with a high APR as that will cost loads. The best way, if by credit card, is to apply for a 12 month zero interest arrangement. That way you are spreading the cost over 12 months without paying any interest whatsoever.
Above are the main routes for obtaining a licence to drive a truck without having the money up front to pay for it.