Why get involved in road transport?
If you like the smell of burning rubber, eating bacon sandwiches in truck stops and driving huge vehicles very slowly up hills, then perhaps you should investigate the various careers in the exciting world of road transport and logistics.
Okay, so we’re just kidding! There’s so much more to careers in this area than the common stereotypes would lead you to believe.
Road transport careers are all about getting out on the open road and helping people and goods get from A to B. However, it’s not just drivers that work in this area – a whole host of other career options are up for grabs.
What does road transport involve?
Without the people that work in this area, supermarkets wouldn’t get any fresh produce, road traffic would be out of control and you would never be able to get a budget coach trip from Edinburgh to London for just £3.50.
For the most part, road transport careers deal with domestic journeys. However, there is also an opportunity for international travel, with many drivers of coaches and large goods vehicles (LGVs) getting the chance to drive across Europe as part of their jobs.
The importance and complexity of the road transport industry means that shedloads of career opportunities are available in this area. You could get involved with hands-on driving responsibilities and become a coach driver, bus driver or LGV driver (N.B. the term ‘heavy goods vehicle [HGV]’ has now been replaced with large goods vehicle [LGV]).
Alternatively, you could take on a managerial or planning role and become a fleet manager or road transport manager. Finally, you could be working behind-the-scenes as a transport engineer or a supply chain manager to make sure that transport and logistics operations run as smoothly as possible.
What options do I have within road transport?
If you become a bus or coach driver, you will be classed as a passenger carrying vehicle (PCV) driver. These people are essential for getting passengers from A to B. Bus drivers tend to work on a local level and follow a set route with a series of stops. They also exchange cash for tickets from the comfort of their driving seat. They tend to be employed by local councils and community transport providers.
Coach drivers tend to do longer journeys across the nation or even throughout different countries. These guys tend to be employed by private coach companies, such as Megabus or National Express.
You don’t need any specific academic qualifications to become a bus or coach driver. However, you will need a full PCV driving licence and a Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (Driver CPC) before you can start working. As you progress in your career, you could even end up becoming a PCV instructor, where you’d be teaching the new breed of bus and coach drivers.
If you’d prefer to transport goods rather than passengers, you could become an LGV driver. These characters drive goods to locations across the UK and Europe, load and unload their vehicles and process all the relevant paperwork. Mostly employed by private logistics companies, such as Eddie Stobart, they are an essential part of the supply chain.
You don’t need any specific academic qualifications to become an LGV driver. However, you will need a full LGV driving licence and a Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (Driver CPC) before you can start working.
A great way to enter this line of work is via an apprenticeship. Some logistics companies will take you on as an apprentice at the age of 18 and provide you with employment whilst you are working to achieve your LGV licence.
The fleets of LGVs, buses and coaches that belong to logistics firms and public transport providers need to be managed and coordinated effectively to make sure that deliveries are made on time and everything is carried out in the most economical way possible.
This is where fleet managers and road transport managers come into play. These guys are in charge of tracking and monitoring journeys using the latest fleet management software. Moreover, they oversee vehicle repairs, monitor fuel consumption and enforce health and safety policies from their company’s headquarters.
These guys also manage the finance side of things and work to gain new business contracts. They are an essential link in the supply chain and without them drivers wouldn’t know where to go or what to deliver. Coordination is key when it comes to this area of logistics.
Consequently, complex road transport operations and haulage enterprises require the expertise of supply chain managers and freight forwarders to make sure everything goes according to plan. For more detail on these careers, check out the Supply Chain, Procurement & Distribution Management and Import/Export, Shipping & Freight Forwarding subsectors now!
The road transport and logistics subsector also relies on the technical expertise of transport engineers that design, develop, build and maintain the heavy-duty vehicles that are used to transport people and cargo across Europe.
Remember that episode of The Simpsons where Homer becomes a truck driver, falls asleep at the wheel and discovers that the LGVs are actually automated? As you can see, it’s not quite like that. In fact, there’s an awful lot behind driving buses, coaches and LGVs, with a truckload of careers waiting for you.