Types of jobs where driving is necessary
Let’s start with a list of jobs to give you an idea where your career can head towards, then we’ll look at what kind of driving licence you need. Driving can be solitary if you are a long-haul lorry driver, or it can be highly social if you are a tourist operator. It can require high standards or dress if you are a limousine driver or have to wear a uniform, or you might be able to wear what you want if you are an owner-operator.
Transportation of goods: courier (either general goods or specific such as medical items or food delivery), film runner
Personal driving: taxi driver, limousine driver, chauffeur, Uber (or similar) driver
Education: approved driving instructor (ADI)
Trades and occupations: road inspection and maintenance (e.g. signs maintenance), mobile sales representative, farm worker, mobile services (e.g. rural vet, plumber), stunt driver, journalist (especially motoring journalist), car sales, security patrols, various types of inspectors (wildlife, buildings, roads, etc), and agricultural services such as weed spraying and mowing verges
Emergency services: paramedic/ambulance driver, fireman, Highways Agency Traffic Officer, police officer
There are occupations which require you to drive vehicles off public roads and therefore might not need a licence, e.g. racing driver. There are other occupations within motor racing that do need a licence, for example, creating stage notes for rally courses.
Transportation of goods: motorcycle courier, some kinds of local food delivery
Education: approved motorbike instructor
Trades and occupations: motorbike sales and servicing, stunt rider, police officer, farm hand, motoring journalist (reviewing motorbikes)
Transportation of goods: truck driver (includes small rigid trucks through to large articulated lorries), tow truck driver, forklift driver, security vehicle deliveries (e.g. bullion, cash)
Trades and occupations: farm worker, road maintenance and heavy construction vehicles, specialist driving opportunities such as airport tugs, motoring journalist
Bus driver, coach driver, minibus driver
Getting the right driver’s licence
It’s important that you get the right licence and that if you need to tow a trailer that you have the +E category licence. Ultimately, the more licences you have the more job opportunities you will have, but it is expensive to learn to drive heavy vehicles so you will need to balance your budget with the likelihood of getting work where you want to live. Some companies will provide training for you if you are a valuable employee. For example you might get a category C1 vehicle licence yourself, but your employer may help you get a C1+E if you are required to tow larger trailers. You will also need to have adequate training in safety procedures and if you carry dangerous goods you will need an ADR training certificate.
Taxi drivers must have a category B car licence but must also hold either a private hire licence for operating outside of London, or a yellow or green badge for operating within London, and must take a taxi driving test.
There are extra categories for agricultural tractors (F) , road rollers (G), tracked vehicles (H) and mowing machines (K).
Driving instructors must have passed an Approved Driving Instructor Test.
While your UK licence is valid for driving in Europe, if you want to drive a large truck in Australia you will have to start the heavy vehicle licence process from scratch, even though in Australia you can simply swap your car licence without taking an exam.
You don’t technically need a licence if you are driving vehicles and mobile plant on private property, unless it’s a lifting vehicle (i.e. forklift). However, to drive them on the road you will need a licence of the appropriate class for the weight and type of vehicle.
Darren has owned several companies in the automotive, advertising and education industries. He has run driving theory educational websites since 2010.