I ditched my 20-year teaching career to earn £20000 more driving lorries – The Telegraph

The scramble for drivers has resulted in remuneration packages soaring by around a fifth on average (see chart, above).

“I had already reached the top of my pay scale and was not completely happy with my work,” Mr Oakes, who is currently in the middle of a training course to drive class two HGVs, said. 

“I thought with Christmas round the corner the demand for drivers is only going to pick up so it seemed the perfect time to change.” 

“I have already been in touch with a number of agencies about joining and they have told me they are desperate for staff and that there is a tonne of work about.

“The packages on offer will be attractive to lots of people,” he added. 

There is a shortfall of around 100,000 lorry drivers in Britain that has resulted in the breakdown of supply chains nationally, according to the British Hauliers Association, a trade body.

Roughly a third of this is down to older drivers quitting due to tax rule changes, known as “IR35”, which has resulted in disputes over how much income tax and National Insurance they should be paying, according to Marc Fells of the HGV Recruitment, a jobs agency. The average age of a lorry driver is around 56. 

The rest is a result of foreign drivers leaving the country during the pandemic and finding it difficult to come back due to travel restrictions and Brexit visa issues, as well as a pre-existing shortfall in younger drivers entering the sector.

How to become a driver 

The new Government-funded boot camps will provide free, intensive courses for category C or category C&E licences, the two largest vehicle classes. 

You must be aged 18 and over to become an HGV driver. There are then four steps: applying for a provisional lorry or bus licence, taking a theory exam, a case studies test, a driving ability test and a practical demonstration. One this is done you will be given a Certificate of Professional Competence, or CPC. 

There are fees for each step which add up to more than £200, as well as for your CPC card. This is on top of training fees from private firms. 

However, you may be able to take advantage of emergency state schemes or get a driving agency to cover the costs of your training. 

You must drive for 35 hours every five years to maintain your qualification. 

Are you changing career as a result of the pandemic? We want to hear from you, email: harry.brennan@telegraph.co.uk

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