"2 years experience" the catch 22

Calling all new drivers who passed in 2014 in both c and c+e.

How have you found this industry hurdle? I’d like to hear your experiences, both good and bad, I plan on training soon, c first then on to c+e, I just don’t know what to expect with the experience barrier.

I’ve researched my training options and have two companies to consider, I’ve got the funds so I’m poised for a career change. I have to say though the thought of some of the real world aspects of the career are daunting to say the least.

Learning to drive them is one thing,but learning the complexities of all that goes with the job(and reversing) is another, how can you prepare effectively?

So did you beat the experience barrier yet?

And what would you have like to have been taught before you had to learn it?

Any experience and advice greatly appreciated

All the information that you need is in previous posts on this forum, I have been reading this forum for a couple of weeks now and It amazing what you can learn…
Just getting your licence is a bloody mine field …good luck , and happy reading

When a driver is needed the catch 22 does not exist so it depends on what the current driver situation is in your area

What ROG says is absolutely correct. When it comes to looking for work, totally ignore anything that says stuff like “2 years experience” or “25 years min age”. Whilst there is yet to be a major driver shortage, it’s clearly on it’s way. The average age of a truck driver is late fifties. It doesn’t take a mastermind to see what’s going to happen. But not this year, probably not next year either. But worth keeping in mind.

To another point you made, yes, there’s lots and lots that you will wish you’d been taught instead of having to learn on the job. The difficulty is that the industry is incredibly diverse and few trainers (certainly including me) don’t know it all to be able to teach and few trainees would want to spend the amount that would be needed to teach it! And, having done all that, experience can’t be taught.

You also mention reversing. It’s a certain fact that, having passed CE you will have a basic understanding of how reversing artics works. The complexities arise in tight yards, under pressure, with an audience. It relies on staying calm, taking your time and getting out to look. There can be unbelievable blind spots and the only safe method is to get out and look. If there is someone you can trust to watch you back, that’s a great help. I would trust another driver rather than a member of the public though!
Glad you’ve found a couple of trainers. When you have your provisional licence, make appointments for assessment drives to see how well you relate to the trainer and get an impression of the set up. There is a huge difference between trainers. Avoid brokers like the plague. (A broker will not offer an assessment as they have no vehicles to assess you on and no trainers to assess you).

Make use of the forum - as you already have. There’s 4 or 5 very good trainers who contribute on a regular basis. It’s all free as well!

All the best, Pete :laughing: :laughing:

Our lot took someone on who was 20 yrs of age and had barely a years experience so if our company can do it then I’m sure lots of companies would be willing.

Tosh23 I’ve been reading the forum obsessively for a month but I wanted to get some recent feedback from new license holders,Rog hopefully I’ll be getting your fireworks somepoint this year and Peter you are one of the trainers!(residential)The other is jld in banbury near me.

It’s a daunting industry for a potential newbie! With a lot to learn, the theory and practical is an obvious hurdle, but there are many more that will follow after.

Peter what additional training would you recommend to prepare a new driver for commercial driving and a life on the road?

Peter what additional training would you recommend to prepare a new driver for commercial driving and a life on the road?

Being able to keep a cool head, patience and skin like a Rhinoceros would give you a good start in this industry.

I have been offered class 2 work from agencies, so you can get started straight after passing. However in this day and age, youtube can help if you want to see examples of good and bad reversing and or loading tips etc. Ultimately I think you will have to learn as you go, because unlike a car, you probably cant just pop out in someone else s truck to get some practice in.

Take it in your stride and I wish you all the best.

Thanks marc, that’s promising, where are you based? It’s not so much the driving but all bits you won’t get trained for that worries me! Good to hear a new pass doing well, what sort of stuff have the agency offered you, what are the shifts and pay like ?

I passed c+E in July 2014 and went part-time in my office job to free up 2 days per week for driving. I have been able to get work via agencies for nearly every week since, so my experience is building up nicely.

I think two years means exactly that, and as long as I can demonstrate that I have been driving regularly throughout most of the period I don’t think it will matter whether I have been full-time or not…the two years is an arbitrary time measurement from the initial licence date and is imposed by the insurers, not the haulage companies. They prefer not to take inexperienced drivers because the risks are bigger in the event of accidents (higher excess). However, if there are loads to be shifted and no drivers to do it then the hauliers will take that risk with a rookie. At the moment that seems to be happening in my area at least, so I’m trying to make the most of it.

On the issue of reversing, you have two challenges; one is to be able to pass your C+E test, the other is to learn about reversing in the real world. Many people - myself included - find that the test reverse does not in itself prepare you for the reality, so you will do well to find a trainer who can help you with both. Failing that, you can take extra tuition after passing your test, or land a job with a company that is willing to send you out with trainer drivers to get you up to speed. Artic reversing is mostly about experience and instinct which takes a little time to build up. The early days can be quite traumatic I’m afraid, not many people are born with the ability to do the reverse naturally.

[EDIT] That said, I am at a stage now where each shift is less traumatic and more enjoyable so the learning curve, although steep, does level off eventually. Don’t be put off, relish the challenge and hold onto the dream of what it’ll be like on the other side once you become a ‘real’ truck driver. None of us have quite figured out what that means or when it officially happens, but sooner or later it does. :slight_smile:

If you are in oxford like your name suggests JLD have a branch in Abingdon which is where I’ll be going to get my C+E.
I’ve held my C entitlement for coming up for a year now and I’ve loved it, I’ve been agency for all of that bar 3 weeks when I decided to go full time then regretted it and went back to agency, there have been a few hairy moments and some ■■■■ days but it changes daily so it’s always a challenge. But I’ve never been out of work except for when I’ve wanted time off, and with the. Shortage of drivers at the moment you are in the best place to tell companies what you want.
What have I learnt in 2014?
Don’t have an altercation with a cyclist when in a lorry, you will always lose in the end.

Never be afraid to stop and look, I’m regularly that ■■■■■■■■ lorry driver that pulls up on the side and gets out to walk a lane, I’d rather people have to go around me the I would get stuck down a lane or have to battle reversing out of a tight one, the same goes for reversing, I’ve stopped mid reverse to check my clearance or to see where the impatient folk have gone.

Really your entitlement is just permission to learn the important stuff on the road.

Sometimes it’s just better to walk away from a domestic customer, then it is to try to explain why for the 10th time you can’t drop a 1200kg pallet of bricks via pallet truck into the middle of his grassed garden.

It’s always best not to verbally abuse a taxi driver for parking in the only loading bay on the street when your truck has full company livery (in plain trucks this is ok)

No matter what you do or how hard you try or go out of your way, you are never appreciated as a truck driver.

If on the paperwork it says “must not be bigger then a bin lorry” you know it’s going to be an arse, some people assume bin wagons come in one size and even tho the one that goes to them is a converted merc sprinter they fail to tell you that until you are stuck down their lane.

And most importantly, a cup of coffee can fix most bad days.

If I could go back a year I’d still do it all again.

Frost89 are you based in Oxford too? I’m thinking jld is the obvious choice for me for c training, if you are Oxfordshire which agency are you on?

I live around kidlington, but I use Pertemps in didcot, most of their work is around that area, I tried another agency in oxford (can’t remember name) but they didn’t listen when I said I didn’t want to do picking and packing in warehouse and started to get ■■■■■■ with me when I kept refusing to do it