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Road Transport and Freight Management

Road Transport and Freight Management

Want to carve out a new career in the world of road transport? Here’s the steer on driver and transport manager qualifications, licensing and training

What’s involved?

This article aims to give you the inside track on passenger transport and road freight driver training, as well as transport management, with a particular focus on the qualifications and licensing that will help you make your way in these sectors.

Logistics (the movement of freight) is often described in terms of the method of goods transportation (i.e. road, sea, air or rail), however major logistics companies use all types of transport within a variety of industries. It is still very much the case, though, that road freight transport makes up the majority of the market: in the UK it is the main mode in use and still on the increase. The industry is heavily reliant on subcontractors and smaller haulage firms, hence the need for extensive, wellstructured and continuing training to recruit and retain drivers.

Get qualified as a driver

To become a lorry, bus or coach driver you need to:

  • have a full car driving licence
  • be over 18 for lorries, or 24 for buses and coaches (but there are some exceptions)
  • hold a professional driving qualification called the Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC).

You must have the full Driver CPC (see below) if you drive a lorry, bus or coach as the main part of your job. You need to pass four tests to get it.

Road freight transport driving

LGV (C) licence holders (see panel titled ‘Vehicle licensing categories’) require a current clean B (motor car) licence, and a minimum age of 18. Some insurers may insist that those driving certain loads (e.g. hazardous chemicals) are over 30. Employers and trainers look for ability in reading, writing and maths, and require an aptitude test. Everyone is required to take a medical exam, including eyesight and colour blindness tests.

The LGV Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC)

CPC training is continuing professional development that carries on throughout a professional lorry driver’s career. All professional lorry drivers are now required to hold a Driver CPC in addition to their vocational driving licence. This is designed to improve the knowledge and skills of professional LGV drivers throughout their working life. You must get the Driver CPC initial qualification if you’re new to professional driving and want to drive a lorry. When you qualify you’ll get the new Driver Qualification Card (DQC). You must have this with you whenever you’re driving professionally. There are two parts to the legislation:

1. the initial qualification, which must be achieved by new LGV drivers along with their vocational licence to enable them to use their licence professionally

2. periodic training, which involves all professional drivers undertaking 35 hours of training every five years.

New LGV drivers have to pass an initial Driver CPC qualification before being able to drive professionally. This can be taken at the same time as the vocational driving test. Existing professional lorry drivers are deemed to hold Driver CPC by ‘acquired rights’. However, they must complete their periodic training within five years of the introduction of Driver CPC, which means LGV licence holders should have done this by 9 September 2014. You won’t get a DQC if you have your Driver CPC through ‘acquired rights’ until you’ve done 35 hours of periodic training. Your driving licence is proof of your Driver CPC until you’ve done this. You’ll get your DQC when you’ve completed either:

  • your initial qualification
  • your 35 hours of periodic training if you have a Great Britain photocard licence.

Passenger transport: coach and bus driving

There are no formal academic entry requirements to become a coach driver, although employers expect basic levels of literacy and numeracy. Bus drivers, however, need to have a PCV licence, also known as a category D licence, as well their PCV Driver CPC (see below). To drive for a commercial operation, coach drivers will also need a PCV Driver CPC. Adult entry is common, and drivers in the Forces with a D licence must convert to civilian standards and practices. To train for this licence, a full UK driving licence is required. Drivers cannot train for the PCV licence and Driver CPC until they are at least 18. However, PCV drivers must usually wait until the age of 24 to be allowed to drive on major bus or coach routes. Many companies give entrants PCV and Driver CPC training while paying them a trainee wage, although it is also possible to train for the licence and Driver CPC independently.

The PCV Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC)

As discussed in relation to lorry drivers above, all professional PCV drivers are also required to hold a Driver CPC in addition to their vocational (D or D1) driving licence. You must get the Driver CPC initial qualification if you’re new to professional driving and want to drive a bus or coach. When you qualify you’ll get the new Driver Qualification Card (DQC). You must have this with you whenever you’re driving professionally.

Again, there are two parts to the legislation:

1. the initial qualification, which must be achieved by new PCV drivers along with their vocational licence to enable them to use their licence professionally

2. periodic training, which involves all professional drivers undertaking 35 hours of training every five years.

New PCV drivers will have to pass an initial Driver CPC qualification before being able to drive professionally. This can be taken at the same time as the vocational driving test. Driver CPC came into force across all EU member states in September 2008 for commercial PCV drivers.

Existing professional PCV drivers are deemed to hold Driver CPC by ‘acquired rights’. However, they must complete their periodic training within five years of the introduction of Driver CPC, which means that PCV licence holders should have done this by 9 September 2013. Again, you won’t get a DQC if you have your Driver CPC through ‘acquired rights’ until you’ve done 35 hours of periodic training. Your driving licence is proof of your Driver CPC until you’ve done this. As for LGV driving, you’ll get your DQC when you’ve completed either:

  • your initial qualification
  • your 35 hours of periodic training if you have a Great Britain photocard licence.

Van driving

A number of people drive vans either full-time or as part of another job. Those driving vans over 3.5 tonnes need a C Licence and those driving vans over 7.5 tonnes require a C1 Licence. For smaller vans, only a B Licence is required. The minimum age for driving ‘light commercial vehicles’ is 18, although some insurers insist on 21. Some employers prefer people aged 25 with experience and a good driving record.

Chauffeurs

Driving, maintaining and cleaning high-powered cars, together with a B Licence, are the basic requirements for this employment. Chauffeurs should have several years’ driving experience with a clean record. Membership of the Institute of Advanced Motorists and some knowledge of defensive driving techniques could be advantageous.

Taxi drivers and private hire

Taxi drivers must hold a full, clean B Licence. They need good local area knowledge and may require a test. They are licensed by their local authority, or the Public Carriage Office in London, and this special licence can be held only by people over 21 who have passed a medical.

Carriage of dangerous goods

Every company involved in the transportation of dangerous goods must have a Dangerous Goods Safety Adviser (DGSA), who must pass the necessary courses to become qualified in: l basic dangerous goods transport l safe transport of dangerous goods in small packages l completing and checking dangerous goods transport documents l safe loading of dangerous goods vehicles and containers.

FACTFILE

VEHICLE LICENSING CATEGORIESORIES

Although there are several others, the basic vehicle licence categories are:

  • A – motor cycle
  • B – motor car l B+E – motor car and trailer
  • C – lorries over 3,500 kg with a trailer up to 750 kg
  • C1 – lorries between 3,500 kg and 7,500 kg with trailer up to 750 kg
  • C+E – lorries over 3,500 kg with a trailer over 750 kg
  • D – PCV with more than eight seats and trailer up to 750 kg
  • D+E – as D, with a trailer over 750 kg
  • D1 – PCV with 9–16 seats, with or without trailer up to 750 kg
  • D1+E – as D1, with a trailer over 750 kg.

HOW TO GET – AND KEEP – FULL DRIVER CPC IES

  1. Apply for a provisional lorry or bus licence.
  2. Pass the four tests that make up Driver CPC to qualify.
  3. Take 35 hours of periodic training every five years to stay qualified.
  4. Sign a declaration every five years until you’re 45 to show you still meet the medical standards.
  5. Provide a medical report every five years after you’re 45 to renew your driving licence – you need to do this every year when you reach 65.

Related skills gained in the Services

The Defence School of Transport (DST) takes students from all three Services on a huge range of courses. Programmes emphasise vocational qualifications and apprenticeships, so that every student on a major course leaves with a qualification. For resettlement, training in transport management and driving can be accessed through the Career Transition Partnership (CTP). If you are a Service driver who already holds a C or C+E Licence (see the box titled ‘Vehicle licensing categories’) you may need to convert to civilian standards and practices.

The CPC and Armed Forces drivers

Because those driving as part of their job in the Armed Forces are exempt from CPC requirements while serving (Driver CPC does not form part of MoD LGV training), those leaving the Forces with an LGV licence issued after September 2009 will need to pass the initial seven-hour core module Driver CPC qualification in order to obtain their Drivers’ Qualification Card, which will allow them to drive legally in a civilian capacity. They will then have five years in which to complete the required 35 hours of periodic training. For more information, please visit the gov.uk website (see ‘Key contacts’).

Get qualified as a transport manager

Freight logistics companies fall into two groups: those that manage their own distribution system and those that manage it on behalf of another company; the latter organisations are referred to as third-party logistics (3PL). There are five main routes into transport management.

1. Graduate training entrants join management-training programmes run by employers. Degrees may be in transport and logistics, or in more general qualifications.

2. Postgraduate entry applicants will have an MSc in logistics or supply chain management, or an MBA in an appropriate discipline.

3. Graduates with management experience may look for a career change into transport and logistics, and will need to gain the necessary knowledge.

4. Service leavers with A-levels may move into management through on-the-job experience, while also studying for professional exams.

5. Professional qualifications, which must reflect the needs of the profession and employers, enable the translation of Service skills into their civilian equivalents.

Freight transport vocational qualifications are available as national and Scottish vocational qualifications, and as apprenticeships.

CPC for transport managers

The CPC (see above) is a suitable first-level qualification for those wanting to pursue a career in transport management and fleet operation in the road freight industry – whether self-employed or as an employee of a larger organisation – and provides a good basis from which to progress to professional qualifications. Those operating or managing goods vehicles over 3.5 tonnes GVW require an Operator CPC, also known as the Transport Manager’s CPC (this is a separate qualification from the Driver CPC discussed above, so anyone holding an Operator CPC who still drives professionally as part of their job will also need to hold a Driver CPC). Those wishing to obtain a standard licence must hold the relevant Certificate of Professional Competence in Road Haulage (CPC) qualification. A Standard Operator’s Licence is required for ‘hire and reward’ operations and a Restricted Operator’s Licence for own account.

CILT(UK) qualifications

The Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport in the UK (CILT(UK)) offers a number of formal qualifications at all levels (because they are modular, most can be studied as stand-alone units). For example: 

  • level 2 Certificate – for new employees or students; provides a broad understanding of logistics and transport 
  • level 3 Certificate – designed to provide a solid foundation for a career within the transport, logistics and supply chain sectors; aims to equip existing and potential supervisors and first-line managers with a complete set of management skills.

You can find full details of all CILT(UK) qualifications at the different levels on its website.

Finding employment

Prospects for employment are good. Industry insiders point out that the UK freight transport sector is heading for a massive shortfall in personnel over the next few years. With this in mind, a number of training companies are focusing on helping Service leavers prepare to enter the industry.


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