Our very own Andrea Haworth proudly posing with her C+E pass certificate.

Become a LGV Driv-her!

ASK someone to describe a stereotypical LGV driver and they would probably reply “a pot-bellied bloke in his mid-50s.”

Admittedly, it is not the most glamorous of jobs and the hours can be long and unsociable – which IS perhaps why women give the haulage industry a wide berth.

Women are massively under-represented and the latest figures claim that just eight per cent of all 400,000 professional drivers are female.

Flamed-haired trucker Kara Rouse – who drives around in her Barbie-pink painted cab – has helped raise the profile of female LGV drivers and a campaign entitled “HerGV” has been launched to make the career more fashionable. But more still needs to be done.

The road haulage industry desperately needs to attract women into its ranks if it is to survive – let alone prosper.

Haulage associations estimate there’s a current shortfall of between 45,000-60,000 drivers, with another 40,000 due to leave the industry by 2017.

And Government statistics also show that by 2022, the LGV industry needs to recruit 1.2 million more people.

This has prompted ministers to urge companies to expand their female workforce.

And companies are keen to dismiss the misconception that women would be unable to cope with the physical demands of being a trucker.

The development of new, state-of-the-art artics that have been rolled out in recent years can only help.

James Hookham, the Freight Transport Association’s deputy chief executive, said:  “Modern cabs are like spaceships these days, with automatic gears and steering and lots of creature comforts.”

But he admitted the industry still needed to offer women more flexible hours to fit  around family life, and accepts that poor roadside facilities and grotty motorway services are off putting.

However, what is an attractive proposition are the salaries LGV drivers can earn when fully trained.

Prospective lorry drivers must be over 18 and hold a full UK or EU driving licence.

Cat C licences are for vehicles with a rigid-based body weighing more than 7.5 tonnes – including fire engines, rubbish trucks.  Holders of this licence can expect starting salaries of about £24,000 per year.

Cat C+E licence holders can drive any vehicle over 7.5 tonnes that has a detachable or separate trailer, and salaries start from around £28,000 per year.

Training for Cat C and Cat C+E is not as expensive as you think.

And with Ben Shaw Training offering 0% finance on all courses, subject to terms and conditions, what are you waiting for?

Contact the office today on 01282 614124.

Ben Shaw Training Ltd





BE Safe And Know The Law When Towing A Trailer.

I’VE passed my driving test so I can automatically tow a trailer, right?

Well, a lot will depend on when you obtained your driving licence because the date that you ripped up your L-plates will partly determine what you can and cannot tow.

Then, you have to consider what vehicle you want to drive and trailer to pull.

Most drivers wishing to tow a large horsebox or trailer will need the B+E category on their licence.

UK licensing law changed on January 1, 1997.

Anyone who passed before this date already has the B+E category on their licence, and can have a vehicle and tow a combination weight of up to 8.25 tonnes MAM (the maximum authorised mass limit on how much the vehicle can weigh when loaded).  For example, those with Cat 1+E can drive a vehicle weighing up to 7.5 tonnes towing a trailer up to 750kg.

However, this automatic qualification may have been removed if your car licence has been restricted in the past.

Those who took their car test after this date can tow small trailers weighing up to 750kg and a trailer over 750kg if the combined weight of the trailer and towing vehicle is under 3.5 tonnes MAM.

Car licence holders can also tow a trailer over 750kg MAM – but ONLY if the combined MAM of the trailer and towing vehicle is no more than 3.5 tonnes. For example, a car weighing up to two tonnes pulling a 1.5 tonne trailer.

Right, so you’ve decided you need to take your category B+E test – sometimes known as the car and trailer test. This is what you need to know.

The six parts to the test, which usually lasts around an hour, are:

  1. an eyesight check;
  2. ‘show me, tell me’ vehicle safety questions;
  3. reversing the vehicle;
  4. general driving ability;
  5. independent driving, and;
  6. uncoupling and recoupling the trailer.

Those who receive no more than 15 driving faults – sometimes called minors – and are free from any serious or dangerous faults will pass.

Are you still confused? Let’s try to make it simpler by illustrating various scenarios, showing who may need to tow a trailer, and which category they need to stay the right side of the law.

Alternatively, contact Ben Shaw Training Ltd, whose team can prepare you fully for any test, giving you the best chance to pass first time with minimal fuss. Give them a call on 01282 614124 or email info@benshawtraining.co.uk.


The Driving Force Behind the UK Economy

The great British trucker is the lifeblood of the UK’s economy.

With around 85 per cent of all consumer goods in Britain being transported by road, Large Goods Vehicle (LGV) drivers – or Heavy Goods Vehicle drivers as they were previously known – are a vital cog in keeping the supply chain moving. It is almost certain that the groceries in your weekly supermarket shop to the neatly-wrapped presents under the Christmas tree will at one stage have been in a LGV. But statistics show the trucker could soon become an endangered species. There are 600,000 LGV-licensed drivers currently registered in the UK – but with an average age of 57, it is expected that 25 per cent will retire within the decade!

The Road Haulage Association (RHA) has stated that an extra 60,000 drivers are already needed, and with only 17,000 new LGV drivers qualifying each year, the shortages are only going to intensify. Surprisingly, it only takes a short period of time to become a fully qualified commercial driver. Within the space of just a few months it’s possible to go from holding a car licence to becoming a full C+E trucker – opening up countless employment opportunities.

So how do you become a qualified LGV driver?

Well, first of all, you have to be aged 18 or over and hold a full UK car driving licence. You must be competent in English and maths to pass the theory test, have good eyesight, and pass a driver’s medical to gain the appropriate provisional entitlement. All applicants must pass their category C practical test before moving on to taking the category C+E truck and trailer combination driving test. Category C licence holders can drive any rigid truck up to 32-tonnes, and C+E holders any truck and trailer, including wagon and drags, and articulated lorries. Once candidates have received their LGV provisional entitlement they can then move on to the four modules required.

Module 1 – Part one, the theory test, involves a series of 100 multiple-choice questions, and part two, the hazard perception test, comprises of screen footage of 20 potential dangers developing on the roads, and candidates are marked on their response time.

Module 2 – The Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) case study theory test. This involves a series of seven short computer-generated stories, based on situations drivers could face during their working day.

Module 3 – The practical on the road driving test, requires a driver answer numerous questions about vehicle safety, and demonstrate competent and safe driving skills. These include moving away at an angle, uphill and downhill starts, dealing with hazards, road awareness and finding a safe place to stop. Off-road exercises include an S-shaped reverse into a bay, and uncoupling and recoupling of a trailer for those taking the Category C+E test.

Module 4 – The drivers CPC’s practical demonstration test involves following safety rules when loading the truck, ensuring it is secure to prevent trafficking of illegal immigrants, assessing emergency situations and performing a walkaround vehicle safety check.

Candidates who pass modules 2 and 4 – the ‘Initial Qualification’ – will be awarded with the all-important Driver Qualification Card which is valid for 5 years. This allows them to drive for commercial purposes.

Older drivers, who passed the car driving test prior to 1997, will have ‘Acquired Rights’ allowing them to opt out of the Initial Qualification tests, and instead attend a 35-hour (five day) ‘Periodic Training’ course, where they too will be awarded a five-year Driver Qualification Card.

All commercial drivers must subsequently attend a Periodic Training course at least every five years to keep the card valid.

For any further help or advice, give the experts at Ben Shaw Training Ltd a call on 01282 614124 or email info@benshawtraining.co.uk.

Carry on Caravanning – Safely.

The weather is warming up and caravanners across the UK are getting ready to set off on their adventures – making many magical memories along the way.

The beauty about owning a caravan is the exploring potential is almost limitless. And if you don’t like one destination, just simply pack up and move on.

Caravanning has witnessed a resurgence in recent years, with sleek and modern tourers coming on to the market.

And it is big business with more than £1.8bn spent on caravan holidays in Britain each year, and 51 million nights spent in different forms of caravans over the same period.

It is estimated there are 550,000 touring caravan owners in the UK, and in 2015, a total of 44,901 new caravans, motorhomes and caravan holiday homes were bought.

But what makes caravan holidays so appealing that the memories often last a lifetime?

“It’s the flexibility and freedom a leisure vehicle offers,” said John Lally Director General of the National Caravan Council.

He added: “Families and people of all ages enjoy caravanning and motor homing.

“We’re also seeing increasing numbers of younger people choosing to holiday in the UK.

“With caravans and motorhomes equipped with all the latest technology and comforts, the industry provides the perfect solution for holidaymakers to enjoy a ‘home from home’ experience any time of the year.”

But before you go rushing out to buy a caravan, ask yourself if you’re legal to tow it.

First of all, you need to check the date you passed your driving test.

If it’s before January 1, 1997, you are fine because the category B+E entitlement is automatically included on your licence.

But for those who tore up their L-plates after this date, only categories B and B1 are included, which limits the maximum weight of a vehicle you can drive to 3,500kg and trailer you can tow to 750kg.

To drive or tow anything larger, an additional driving test to add the B+E category to your licence is required.

Ben Shaw Training’s expert tuition can help drivers reach the standard required to pass the test. Or if you’re after a refresher course to brush up on your towing skills, we can help with that, too!

From one-to-one driving lessons and practical tuition by experienced instructors to advice on different licensing categories they can do it all.

Click here to see what Ben Shaw Training can do for you.