If you are one of the many youngsters today unsure of what career path to take, why not consider joining the haulage industry and get involved in subcontract transport work? There is much more to this line of work than you may first think; the job can be varied, tasks can be challenging and opportunities for career development are excellent. |
Carrying out subcontract transport work is not only about driving from point A to point B. Your daily tasks could include getting involved in lots of other aspects of the job too, such as planning delivery schedules and routes, as well as supervising and getting hands-on when it comes to loading and unloading vehicles.
Before you set off on a job, you are responsible for checking that your load is safe and secure. You must also keep a constant eye on current traffic reports in case you have to make the decision to change your route.
Delivery paperwork and logbooks all require filling in on a daily basis too.
How to Get Qualified
There are several avenues into a career in the haulage industry. The first way necessitates becoming an apprentice large goods vehicle (LGV) driver. You will need some academic qualifications, such as an English and Maths GCSE if you choose this route.
If you are already working in the industry, perhaps in the admin department, you may be offered the chance to be put through the LGV license training. This is an excellent way to progress your career.
There are other ways of kick starting your future in haulage including searching online for local training opportunities. The Joint Approvals Unit for Periodic Training specifies refresher LGV training course providers that also offer initial LGV training.
The courses are comprehensive and cover everything from basic mechanics to securing loads and, of course, driving skills. You will be required to demonstrate proficiency in completing different manoeuvres and will need to complete a theory test too.
Before you sign up, make sure you do your research and check that the training company you are looking at offers services that meets your needs.
The skills needed to become a heavy or large goods vehicle driver are diverse. Not only do you need to have a basic knowledge of transport methods and associated costs and benefits, but you will also need to have certain physical skills such as dexterity and coordination.
Customer service skills are a definite prerequisite, as well as patience and the ability to stay calm in stressful situations. You must be meticulous and pay attention to detail; you must also work well with others and be comfortable receiving constructive criticism.
As a driver undertaking subcontract transport work, you will be required to operate equipment and complete basic IT tasks. Using a handheld device might also be something you will be asked to do.
Licences and Qualifications
If you are planning to join this industry, a driving license that covers LGVs or PCVs (buses) is required. Only applicants over 18 will be considered, and good eyesight, as well as a Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC), is a necessity.
The license you can acquire in the LGV category is divided into two areas. Category C1 limits you to driving rigid vehicles under 7.5 tonnes. Category C allows you to drive rigid vehicles over 7.5 tonnes.
Furthering your career might also mean taking the test that allows you to drive vehicles with trailers (Category C+E).
There are always ways to advance in this industry. Further training is an option, as is qualifying for an ADR (Advisory Dangerous Goods by Road) Certificate, which would allow you to drive hazardous goods by tanker.
There is also the option of transferring into management, becoming an LGV instructor or even a freight planner.
There is no doubt that working in the haulage industry can be hugely diverse, interesting and fulfilling. Choose a way in that suits you and your future employment carrying out subcontract transport work will take care of itself.
Norman Dulwich is a Correspondent for Haulage Exchange, the leading online trade network for the road transport industry. Connecting professionals across the UK and Europe through their website, Haulage Exchange provides a valuable service to subcontract transport work, matching loads with available vehicles. It is now the fastest growing Freight Exchange in the UK.
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