Monday, 14 December 2015

How to Become a Mini-Bus Driver

Having recently had one of our staff look to go through their mini bus test we have realised that it is particularly difficult to find all the relevant information with regard to the process. Therefore, I deemed it quite a good idea to put all the information in one place- hopefully this helps out.

Why get the licence?

First off, why would you want a  Licence? I hear a lot of misinformed conversation about the need to acquire a licence (I do also hear people who are correct on some occasions). As a general rule; you will only require the D1 (minibus) entitlement on your licence if you wish to drive for Hire and Reward. In any other circumstances (such as driving on behalf of a sports club) there may be a way round it. Full information is available at:

If you wish to get the D1 entitlement then it opens up doors with regards to work. You could start your own taxi business or go to work as a minibus driver- this is a particularly useful job if you're looking for well-paid part-time work.

The Process:

First step here is to send off (or print off) the D2/D4 application forms to get provisional entitlement on your licence. The D4 form is a medical that will be filled out by a professionally competent person- most likely to be your GP at a cost of around £60-£100.

The D4 (Medical form) is available online at this link:

Hint: There is no limit to the amount of provisional entitlements you can apply for, so to save money and time it may be worth ticking the boxes to give yourself other driving categories.  

When you have sent off these forms to the DVLA they will analyse your suitability to drive vocationally and hopefully return your licence with provisional entitlement.

Theory Test:

Unfortunately, to pass your provisional entitlement you will require a theory test, split into two sections. The Hazard Perception (£11) and the Multiple-Choice (£26) are the first two tests, subject to passing these you can then take your practical exam.

These can be booked at:

Drivers will also need to pass the CPC Case Study exam before they can drive vocationally. This costs £23 but can be left until after you have passed your practical exam.


Training will almost definitely be required to pass the D1 driving test. There is no specified time scale on training and it is very much down to the individual candidate. Some centres will offer a full week training while others will offer courses that take place over 2-3 days.

Practical Test:
Training should ultimately conclude in your D1 practical test. This will involve a reversing procedure and a practical test run- much like a car test.  Upon completion of the test and if you have passed then the examiner will send off your licence to the DVLA so they can register the new entitlement.

If you have anymore questions then please get in touch on 01905 571223 or email

Monday, 17 August 2015

Smokers make a mad rush to buy convertibles as smoking banned from (most) cars from Oct 2015!

In a not-totally-unexpected move by the DVLA last week, it has been  announced that from the 1st of October, 2015, it will be illegal to smoke in a car while being accompanied by anyone aged under 18. This is, of course, being done in an effort to prevent young people from falling victim to the perils of second hand smoke.

Who does it apply to? 

Well, anyone in England or Wales who is smoking in a car while a minor is present. This could be either the driver or the passenger. It applies even when the driver is 17, regardless of them having passed or being on a provisional licence.

However, there are a couple of exceptions to the rule. Firstly, should the driver be 17 years of age and driving by themselves then they are allowed to to smoke (even though it is illegal for them to purchase tobacco). Secondly, this rule only applies to people driving

 'any private vehicle that is enclosed wholly or partly by a roof. It still applies if people have the windows or sunroof open, have the air conditioning on, or if they sit in the open doorway of the vehicle.'

So, smokers who drive convertibles with the top down (hence the cheesey title to this post) are exempt from the ruling and will therefore dodge any punishment.

The penalty?

The cost of such an infringement could be a fine of up to £50 to each the driver AND the smoker- talk about an expensive habit. It has yet to be specified if there will be any further penalty to repeat offenders.

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Great Reasons to start your career as a HGV Driver

Monday, 20 July 2015

Job Security and Good Money in a Role that is really 'Going Places'

With a growing market and pay that is potentially way above the median UK salary, the title of this post is not only a terrible pun, but an accurate description of a career driving Heavy Goods Vehicles. So if you are looking at a new career, whether it be from a young age or looking for a bit of change, this post should hopefully provide you with some information and advice on what it is like to go truckin' vocationally.

What does the job entail?

Well, essentially being a HGV Driver is transporting goods from one destination to another. However, asides from that there are other job requirements that include a responsibility to ensure goods are safely secured, a pride in keeping your vehicle in good condition, expert loading and unloading of a vehicles cargo.

The further you go through this career the more avenues (sorry, another poor pun) begin to open up. Progression within the industry could lead to qualifications that allow you to transport more specialist cargo, work in the training side of the industry or to become involved with logistics and transport management.

Money and Hours.

As previously mentioned the money in HGV Driving is at worst pretty good. The National Careers Service estimates that the starting salary for a driver can begin at between £18k-£22k. Then within a few years it could rise to at least £35k. Naturally as the industry grows and the need for drivers increases it is likely that these figures could also increase- making it a very lucrative career. These figures compare favourably with the National Median Salary which is at about £20k for all jobs.

Working in the HGV Industry can mean that you are working fairly long hours, with Total Jobs stating that the average weekly hours for a driver are 48. However, the work patterns for HGV drivers are fairly ruled upon with appropriate breaks and holidays stipulated in EU Legislation.

Is work readily available?

As noted in a previous article, there are literally thousands of jobs available in the HGV Industry, and this is only going to grow as the average age of drivers means that more positions become available.

What Next?

The next step for anyone who wishes to look into a career along these lines is to get some training, this is generally available through week-long crash courses at a price of around £1200 including test fees- this represents a great investment on the basis of future employment and working security.

For further information you may wish to visit

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Serious Shortage In HGV Driver Numbers?

Now, as you will probably know if you are reading this, there is a serious area of concern growing in the HGV Industry with regard to the lack of qualified Drivers available. But what are the facts? A lot has been said, rightly or wrongly, on the issue, so I am going to look at the facts with regard to Driver Shortage in the UK. 

First off, many are working under the assumption that there just aren't drivers available out there. Since the end of recession and the phoenix-like rise of the British economy, industry has sped up and  there is a greater demand for HGV drivers on Britain's roads. Depending upon which figures you read there were either 45 thousand (RHA estimate) or 50-60 thousand (FTA estimate) unfulfilled HGV jobs during 2014. Huge numbers. Yet, while the amount of jobs have risen, the cost of actually attaining a licence during the recession, coupled in with the risk of not getting employed at the end of the process and the potential jeopardy it put employment under at the time, meant that people simply weren't getting qualified.

Interestingly, perhaps, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) is reporting that in February 2015 there were 1,345 drivers in the UK claiming unemployment benefits. Alongside the drivers outside of employment who are not claiming of the state this must mean that there are the drivers available. However, the figures for drivers claiming unemployment benefits in February 2015 look quite different when compared to statistics 12 months earlier. In February 2014, ONS reported that there 3,100 qualified drivers claiming benefit, creating a decrease of 56%. With the increase in the amount of jobs available it is likely that this trend will continue and therefore put a huge strain on the HGV Industry.