Toms journey to gaining a HGV Class 1 at Dulson Training
Motoring, Cars, trucks and motorbikes etc have always interested me since I was a child.
I've been working in an office environment for nearly 20 years and after covid caused havoc with everyone's life it really made me think that life is shorter than most realise.
Why suffer doing things because you have to. Do things because you want to and enjoy what little time we have on this planet.
This spurred me on to invest my hard-earned money in myself for a change with education.
I decided to look into learning to drive a class 1 vehicle.
A class one driver is qualified to drive a truck over 3,500kg with a trailer over 750kg. This is frequently referred to as an artic ( articulated lorry )
By gaining this licence you'll be able to drive the largest of vehicles in the logistics industry. These weigh up to 44 tonnes and are generally used for national and long-haul deliveries.
Before your bum can even sit in the seat of a HGV, You are required to complete application forms and pass a medical assessment to gain a provisional licence.
I emailed Dulsons Training as they are local to me. Their vehicles are often seen on the streets of Shropshire, reviews were excellent and everyone I had spoken to highly recommended them as a company.
Dulsons update their social media daily showing all the different successful applicants across various types of driving.
Dulsons replied very promptly and sent out a free application pack.
In this pack it detailed the processes required to obtain your licence from start to finish.
First off it was the medical.
It's not as daunting as you might expect. An eye test, blood pressure, questions about your lifestyle - Drinking / Smoking / medical history / medications / mental health. It lasted no more than 20 mins and you are presented with documents to collect together and send to the DVLA with your current driver's licence.
After a little wait, documents came back in the post from the DVLA to state they are happy I was fit enough to pursue obtaining a license and I was able to contact Dulsons to access the next steps.
Dulsons replied rather quickly via email and assisted me with the next steps.
Dulsons kindly offer the services of organising and booking the Theory Tests for me. Easing the stress of contacting the test sites. The tests that were required to be booked were the
Module 1a Multiple Choice, Module 1b Hazard Perception and Module 2 CPC.
Module 2 CPC is needed if you want to pursue driving an HGV as paid employment / career.
Not only did Dulsons assist with booking the tests, they even went one step further and also arranged access to an online revision platform to help assist revising for these tests.
This online platform could be accessed via a computer or smart phone. It made life so much easier. It meant I could revise everywhere any anywhere. Whilst on break at work, whilst eating breakfast, before going to bed and in any spare moment I had. It made revision quick and easy. You often found me browsing my phone accessing the quick multiple-choice tests feature every spare 10 mins I had to keep my knowledge up to date.
Theory test day came. I combined all my tests into one session. Module 1A, 1B and 2 (Driver CPC)
It was no different than when I took my car test many many years ago.
After signing in at the reception you are taken to your desk where you complete your tests in silence with headphones on in a very sterile looking booth.
The test included a lot of multiple-choice questions you'd see in a car theory test. But there were lots of extra HGV specific questions like speed limits, road safety, driving regulations, axle weights, safe loading practices, width related queries and lots of questions which are all common sense related.
Module 2 test was also similar. It consisted of a multiple-choice exam that covered a wide range of topics including road safety, vehicle safety, driving operations, economic driving and professional competence. out of 100 questions you must have answered a minimum of 85 correctly and you have 1 hour to complete it.
After successfully completing the tests, I was able to drive an HGV with the supervision of a qualified instructor. I contacted Dulsons straight away by email. sending them photos of my pass certificates.
From there Dulsons arranged dates to commence training that fit in with my immensely busy schedule. I wanted to do my driver training and tests in my hometown of Shrewsbury, although Dulsons do have a choice of locations to do the training including Telford, Wrexham and Ludlow.
I managed to arrange a block week with the team. Starting on Monday for a full day, Half day lesson and 3A Test on Tuesday, Wednesday for a full day, Half day Thursday for the 3B Test and finally the module 4 test on Friday.
A rather busy and tiring week but made easier by the instructors. The instructors working for Dulson's go above and beyond to make your learning experience the most stress-free and enjoyable as possible.
During the lessons you are shown techniques and given guidance in real work scenarios. The instructors work with you at your own pace and adapt the learning style to meet your needs.
They take you down tight roadways, difficult busy junctions and pressurised situations. They try and throw you in the deep end with anything a real-life scenario could get you in.
Test days soon came round. Time flies when you are having fun and I was enjoying every moment of it!
The 3A test is a practical test. The 3A test assesses your ability to drive a lorry safely and efficiently off road.
This consists of reversing in a confined space and safely coupling and uncoupling an articulated or draw bar vehicle.
The examiner was equally as welcoming as the instructors, spoke to you calmly and understood that this is a stressful situation for most.
The 3B test is a practical test. The 3B assesses your ability to drive a HGV safely and efficiently on the road. It consists of a series of exercises such as driving to a high standard on the public road, use of mirrors and appropriate signalling, obeying road signs and instructions.
This test lasts 1 hour. One of the best pieces of advice was to not rush! You can't rush that hour. Again, the examiner went above and beyond to make you feel at ease at all times despite them remaining very quiet and held a poker face throughout,
Out of all the tests I was extremely relieved I passed the 3B in particular. I'd heard many horror stories that you could have a perfect drive ruined by the actions of a renegade member of the public but thankfully I did not meet any such person. Passing released an immense amount of self-pressure I put upon myself. All the hard work and graft was well worth it.
Friday meant Module 4 test. This is the practical side of your CPC.
On your module 4 you are assessed on how to load the vehicle following safety rules and keeping it secure, Stopping trafficking in illegal immigrants, assessing emergency situations, reducing physical risks to yourself and others around you and the most important walk around checks.
I was given some time with an instructor who took me through all the aspects with other students, The training was again friendly, informative and catered to the students.
Thankfully I passed all my tests the first time. This was all down to the friendliness and level of skills the Dulson training team provided. The whole team adapted the learning to your pace and made sure you were happy every step of the way.
They made the whole process from start to finish simple and stress free.
Even after passing they emailed their congratulations and gave advice on how to apply for tachograph cards and access future employment.
If you are looking to learn / further your career in driving.
Contact Dulsons Training