Newcastle Newbie seeks info / advice etc

Hi All,
I have recently taken my “voluntary?” redundancy after 24 yrs as a Prison Officer due to the dreaded privatisation of my establishment / jail.
Seeing as my dad was an HGV driver for approx +30 years I have decided to pursue this avenue, also, I really need to get out & about after all those years being cocooned within 4 very large walls!
I start my HGV 2 / Cat C 7 day course tomorrow & then am looking to progress straightaway to my HGV 1 / Cat C/E. I have also done my ADR course a couple of weeks ago (21 hours towards CPC) & also have attended a days training on Digital Tacographs & Drivers Hours (7 hours towards CPC - 28/35hrs total done). I am looking to make myself as employable as I possibly can to a new employer, although I realise that in this world being a Newbie can count against you as obviously Ive no experience.
My ultimate aim (I think - although not entirely sure) is to progress to tanker work (my dad finished off on tankers & still has a few contacts), again, I know how difficult it can be to gain tanker work without experience, or indeed when you do have HGV experience. Im just going to do my licences & see where it takes me.
Any Info / Advice would be greatly accepted…


Hi Mark,

… Any Info / Advice would be greatly accepted…

There’ll be plenty of that coming your way, and probably quite soon. :wink:

I couldn’t help but notice this though…

I start my HGV 2 / Cat C 7 day course tomorrow

Was the 7-day course decided and agreed between you and the provider after an honest assessment drive?

Yes Dave it was, Im led to believe its normally somewhere between 6-10 days depending. For myself its 6 training days & the 7th day is am training & pm test.

Who are you doing your training with mate? 7 days seems quite long to be honest, 4 or 5 days is the norm I would say. Some people even do it in 2 days.

Im doing my training with Tyne & Wear LGV, a good local company which I checked out before parting with my redundancy cash. I dont think 2 days training in anybodys book is sufficient, what if you were to end up driving a 6 / 8 wheel tanker…? The 2 /3 instructors Ive spoken to say anywhere between 6 - 8 days is the norm. It is worth mentioning that I am doubled up with another trainee in the cab. The other lad has unfortunately come through one of those internet companys that act as a middle man & then refer you onto a local training provider ie: he is paying the same as me for 3 days as I am for 7!!
My thinking is to do my “C” (HGV2) with a manual box & then to do my “C+E” (Class1) in a vehicle with an auto box, which Tyne & Wear have. This gives me a little bit more experience & ticks a box.

7 days, even 2:1 is a very long time. If it’s not too late I would suggest another assessment. If it comes out the same, fine. But you could be paying for training you don’t need. My concern, apart from that, is boredom. IME most folks are ready for test after around 12 hours and have a little more for comfort.

Pete :laughing: :laughing:

Just finished day 3 & must admit what my instructor (Colin) told me on day 1 is correct ie: it takes 2/3 days to get comfortable & settle into the vehicle & gearbox (having never previously driven a large vehicle). As far as Im concerned the next couple of days will entail brushing up on my perceived weaknesses & being ready for test…

Just finished day 4 (single crewed today) & have been out in an 18 tonne vehicle opposed to the 12 tonne vehicle I have been training in & will take my test in. A chance for me today to compare the 2 vehicles, longer / heavier etc. Do I think that after 4 days Im ready for my test? - Not sure is the answer. Do I want to pass 1st time, yes, obviously. Hopefully (famous last words!) the extra 2 days may help me achieve my aim…If I do then it will have been worth it.

Hope it goes well for you.

Was the change in vehicle planned? It does seem a bit odd that the instructor swapped your vehicle halfway through your training. Giving you experience of different types of trucks is not what you need right now, you need consistency to give you the best chance of passing first time.

I can understand it if there was a problem with the original truck but was this the case?

The change of vehicle was down to that particular vehicle needed by 2 other trainees for test purposes.

This is the reason that we buy all our vehicles brand new to the same spec. This avoids this happening and ensures consistency. The only exception we have on CAT C is auto. And even that is the same in all other respects.

Pete :laughing: :laughing:

The change of vehicle was down to that particular vehicle needed by 2 other trainees for test purposes.

I don’t think trainers should do this - careful planning can and should avoid this. If it was a one off, then fair enough, but if this happens routinely then IMHO this trainer should be avoided by others.

It’s not something we would ever do. If we needed the vehicle to help someone else get a quick retest we would ask the original trainee if they could adjust their times to facilitate this. But we would never do it without prior agreement. And as for swapping to a totally different vehicle - it’s just wrong.

But, as I said earlier, this is the inherent danger with a mixed fleet.

Pete :laughing: :laughing:

It is something that Tyne & Wear do quite a bit as well as change instructors with you so have a different one each day but Colin is a good trainer hope he is keeping well also Tyne & Wear also say most need 6 days training ( well the owner Terry needs to keep his Porch 4x4 :lol )

Good luck with it but there are also other good trainers in the North East trust me

Know some good agency if you need any help but depends where about in Newcastle you are

Day 5 completed with new instructor - Tommy - slightly different training style to Colin but all good (single cabbed).
Day 6 completed today & unfortunately hit from behind at traffic lights on Sheriffs Hill Gateshead, by a driver bending down to retrieve his water bottle!! A young lad who immediately assumed blame for the collision. Damage to rear light & no plate, hopefully roadworthy for tomorrow for test day.

Why on Sherriff Hill as that nowhere near a test route or there premises

Did say they were good at changing instructors part way through

Good luck

Passed test today !! 8 minors - Happy Days!

:smiley: :smiley:

Passed test today !! 8 minors - Happy Days!

Well done! Great result!

In Summary: Looking back over my Cat C training experience - Firstly, I feel it must be difficult for an instructor to accurately assess a driver that has never had any experience of driving large vehicles & say you need X days training & then you will be ready for your test! In total I had 6.5 days training & test in the afternoon, so a total of 7 days. During my 7 days I was with 3 other trainees during different parts of the week. All 3 had come through internet middlemen agencys with the “promise” of passing with 3 days training. All 3 failed their first test as they werent ready after an initial / inadequate 3 days training. (No assessment drive included in their package). All 3 paid approx the same as myself for half the training I received (I was fortunate enough to pass my test 1st time after receiving sufficient training & felt ready for my test when I took it).One lad I was with had to fork out another £900 for his re-test & 2 days trainig through this “middleman” agency, this after being firstly offered 2 hours training & then the re-test! I think the morale of the story being research youre local training providers & go direct.
In hindsight I think I was ready for my test after 5.5 days training, so effectively did 1 day more than I probably needed, but I`ll come back to my first sentence that it must be difficult to accurately assess a driver who has never driven a large vehicle before. I would rather pay for an extra days training & pass my test (doing all my training days consecutively), than pay for 3 days training & not be ready for test & have to fork out again for training maybes weeks down the line.
In conclusion I would recommend Tyne & Wear LGV to any driver within a decent daily travelling time of Newcastle Upon Tyne. I received good training & could see myself improving day by day. My first Instructor, Colin, told me it would take 2 days to feel comfotable with the vehicle & the gearbox & he was spot on, so what realistic chance do these 3 day course trainees have of passing? I shall be returning to Tyne & Wear LGV to do my C + E (Class 1) within a few weeks as I feel its right to carry on in trainng mode while the iron is hot.