Should I go for a class 2 or jump straight to class 1

So I’ve finally decided to look into becoming a HGV driver, I’m mulling over which class I want to learn, I know it’s going to be an automatic license since I only have a auto car license. So do any professional drivers have any advice, I originally was looking at class 2, with the aim of eventually getting my class 1 before I’m 40, (I’m 31 this year).

Talked to me mum about a potentially doing it but all I’m getting from her when I show her the pictures of a class 2 and 1 since she wouldn’t understand what they are is “oh those things are far too big for you to drive,” think she just can’t ever picture me potentially getting a license and getting behind the wheel of a truck. But that’s not deterred me, already sent off for my application and medical forms and studying the theory test while I wait.

So I’m just wondering are there any advantages or disadvantages to taking class 1 training instead of class 2? Is the class 1 harder to learn to drive and reverse than class 2 for example. Also am I right in thinking that if I go for class 1 license and get it I’d be covered to drive class 2 as well? Thanks in advance

dont let others put you off. if you only have a class 2 license most schools will start you off in a rigid (class 2) before letting you near an arctic.

Yes if you get class 1 you automatically get class 2 and 7.5 however most places would want to start you with class 2 anyways.

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Most C+E artics are autos but some are manual. There are a fair few rigids and 7.5T manuals around too. Having an auto licence only may be a minus point to a new employer.
Getting a manual licence would be relatively cheap aid to your employability.

Find a school near you. Go and visit them, see what they are like.
Go for an assessment drive, and then decide which way to go.
Make sure you do go to a school though, avoid agencies or training brokers.

If you tell us your approx location you may get a heads up on school recommendations. And the type of work that may be around.
Some rigid work involves physical work. Some doesn’t.

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Before you commit to spending any money, you might want to examine the jobs market for HGV drivers; I can sum it up in one word: saturated.

I you want to do it, then do it by all means, but… first have a look at the various “HGV jobs” FB pages, there are (literally) hundreds of inexperienced new drivers who can’t get a sniff of work. If you’re happy to join that queue, all well and good, but don’t kid yourself.

And, no matter what kind of HGV entitlement a driver has, when you’re on the bottom rung you won’t get to choose what you drive. Most likely you’d start off cutting your teeth on 7.5T work.

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Before you get your HGV licences, I would recommend doing your car licence in a manual. When you get your HGV licences, it will improve your job prospects being able to drive both vs Auto only.

When you first start out, you’ll likely be given an ancient old truck and back then, more manuals existed.

Ofcourse you could take your HGV licence in a manual but if you aren’t great with exam/test pressure, doing it in an Auto would take some of the pressure off. Most training schools generally use autos these days too - So finding a manual might be a challenge.

Thanks I’ll look into a manual license. My approx location is the Wirral, so sandwiched between the North Wales, Liverpool and Ellesmere Port/ Chester. Seen one training school on my travels AJM Transport Training, based at the back of Tranmere Rovers football stadium.

Might visit email them now the application forms have come. Otherwise I might see about using Andy Swan Driver Services, in North Wales. But if anyone knows any other schools then I’m more than happy to look into them

Thanks one website I was looking at made things over complicated when they explained it. Don’t mind doing class 2 to begin with

Getting your manual license is a red herring. Only specialised work uses manuals anymore. It’s just down to the cost of traing. Class 1 (C+E) will be more expensive. They are much more difficult to reverse, but don’t let that put you off, your trainer will get you through the test ( I passes first time… somehow) then you’ll need to learn in the real world. Then you’ll have entitlement for everything, and yes just look for whatever work will have you as a new pass.

Newbies are not all finding it easy to get a start.
Would an employer take on someone who can drive 100% of the fleet or someone who can drive 90% of the fleet?

Talk to a truck driving school and assess costs.

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this manual vs auto thing is an issue. i have a manual car license but have no training in manual trucks despite trying to find a school that had one let alone taught with it. All of them said no need for it as all companies have auto’s.

one day i am sent to a job that only has knock boxes thrown the keys and off i go down the road having been told how to change range desperately trying to get it to go into the upper range and then coming to a very busy roundabout and stalling it because i couldn’t get it into first. By the end of the day i had figured it out and got the feel for it. However it could easily have ended very badly

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I’ve only met a few people in my life who only have an automatic car licence. When asked why they chose this, they all said something similar “Because it’s easier”.

No employer is going to be interested in a prospective employee who always takes the easy option, HGV driving often requires rising to challenges, so it’s no Red Herring.
Seeing " Category B auto" on a licence is going to say something to the prospective employer whether you intended to say it or not.

I don’t doubt that.

But it does show how schools teach how to pass a test, not how to drive.

And given costs, and who is paying those costs, again understandable.

At which point some us (moi?) will be tempted to go off on one, about gears and braking, and what a retarder is/isn’t and…etc

do you believe i should be able to do my lessons in one area then go and pass my test in another? i kind of do but im not sure how you would teach that.

I also disagree with the method that’s used to teach reversing. I was given a piece of paper with where and when and how much to turn the wheel. yes the idea is i can quickly “learn” to get the trailer in the appropriate box but only in those controlled circumstances. I would argue useless in the real world.

Aren’t most exams/tests essentially useless in the real world without subsequent experience “learning on the job”?

My BSc did not make me a functioning -ologist in that subject, PhD kinda did because it was largely practical but that didn’t stop micro-managers not trust me to do the job; Class 2 and Class 1 both did nothing more than let me loose to begin learning; and in more recent years Transport Manager and DGSA both did not tell me the first thing about “day one on the job”.

The only thing that did achieve a (mostly) well-prepared qualified person ready to step into the working world, was from another era in time; a three-year indentured apprenticeship in engineering, coupled with day-release to college.

How well prepared I was to be a Toolmaker I cannot say, Mrs Thatcher was at the helm by that point and UK engineering quickly died. Huge factories on industrial estates which had previously offered “a job for life” vanished, and truck dealerships sit in their former locations.

I wouldn’t argue much with that.

My HGV 1 licence was after training with the RTITB. They did teach how to reverse better than just test-passing.
I’m not saying I was much good! But I did understand how it all worked.
We were let loose for a couple of hours with a dummy loading bay and could play about reversing from different angles etc.

Time and experience are the best teachers, and no one will pay more than is necessary to get a ticket.

My next “lesson” was reversing in a yard where it was blind-side parking and no power steering…I learnt to think before acting…

Ye, some lessons are easily forgotten. :grinning:

when i started my electronics degree at what would of been called a poly we learnt theory in the classroom then went and backed it up in the labs by doing practicals. It was obvious which students had come via a levels and which had done btec. but the idea was by the end of the degree you would be able to go and get a job. We were given a booklet of all the companies that would sponsor us through the course all of them guaranteed a job at the end of it and most were military based including GCHQ.

Admittedly a lot of the stuff was spoon fed and some of it was irreverent. However if we wanted to go onto post grad we were expected to go off and paddle our own cannoe more and some courses expected you to have a certain amount of time working in the industry.

Im surprised by the tm stuff but bow to your knowledge i thought you had to demonstrate how to apply the information you had learnt.

There is the Case Studies paper, which is a theoretical application of things that have a practical value, like driver scheduling/planning, and costings.

But the course and the exams teach you nothing about the day to day work the job entails: tachoanalysis using anyone of several types of software, which tacho reports you need monthly, what “missing miles” are and which need an explanation and which don’t, analysing PMIs and brake test reports, completing an O-licence application.

Then there’s the dozens of things you need to do/arrange in order to keep on the right side of DVSA and the TC, most of which you don’t hear about until there’s a problem. Things such as tyre-management, ad blue monitoring, importance of gate-checks, how to deal with a prohibition, safety recall monitoring…

Then there’s the human element of the job that just can’t be taught, ie dealing with the Maintenance Provider, Operator and multiple drivers in ways that keep things running smoothly.

Lastly there’s the Sherlock Holmes element of identifying the source of a problem where one shouldn’t exist: two identical units with two different VED reminders (revenue weight wrong one of the V5’s at first registration); an RBT that reads like gibberish (wrong DTp number used by tester), or 10,000km of missing mileage for a vehicle that has been VOR for a year (MOT tester inputted wrong mileage and lazy maintance provider just copied the wrong figure from the MOT instead of reading the odometer.)

if these are things that are required by a reasonable company i would highly miffed if i spent 1200+ quid on a course that was supposed to train me to be a tm. Are they things a reasonable training provider would/could expect me to find out on my own during the course.

this is one reason why i wouldn’t be a good fit. Im sure we have all come across others that are in the same catagory.

i assume these are things that have happened to you. are they all the tm’s issue until proven otherwise?

The TM course teaches you to pass the TM exam, nothing more than that. Same with DGSA.
Only the most naive course candidate believes they are going to learn all they need to know on a 5 to 10 day course.

THIS is why some TMs charge more than other TMs: some of us know what will keep our client out of the TC’s courtroom, others are not much more than a name on a piece of paper.

Those “detective items” are indeed ones I have experienced, fortunately I like a bit of puzzle solving.

And yes indeed, these and other problems are all for the TM to resolve. When a TM has a client their “job description” is dictated by the TC in Statutory Document No.3:
"…having continuous and effective responsibility for the management of the transport
operations of the business in so far as they relate to the carriage of goods or
passengers. The transport manager retains legal responsibility regardless of whether their individual activities are delegated."

I would say go in at the deep end class one every time, as previous have said most artics are auto anyway. I took my class one back in the day and hat rigids ( just cant get on with them lol), If you go C&E then the choice is yours as a previous member stated and you can decide if you want once you’ve past what way to go.