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Southport Man Achieves Dream In Time For Christmas

Gareth Linaker achieves his dream, qualifying to drive an articulated lorry in time to help deliver Christmas. He says he has wanted to drive a lorry since he was at school.

Southport Man Achieves Dream In Time For Christmas

"I have wanted to be a lorry driver since I left school and now I can! Driving a truck is a really important job, virtually everything we have in our homes has been transported in this way. "
Gareth Linaker

The first fast track articulated lorry drivers have taken their tests in the UK. Among them is Gareth Linaker, aged 34, from Banks near Southport.

Gareth took his test at Kirkham DVSA driving test centre after five days of intensive training.

Driver shortages in the UK have threated to disrupt Christmas. To help tackle the crisis  changes came into force last month, meaning drivers can gain their HGV licence in a shorter period of time. 

The DVSA now allows drivers  to take a test to drive an articulated lorry without having first passed a test in a large rigid lorry.

From start to finish Gareth obtained the practical part of his HGV 1 articulated lorry driving licence in just over three weeks.  In order to complete the training and take the actual driving test, he had to apply for and hold the relevant provisional licence and pass the theory test. 

Gareth has worked as an engineer at Southport Pleasure Beach & currently works in logistics for Amazon at their Haydock depot. He says:

“I have wanted to be a lorry driver since I left school and now I can!

Going straight to my articulated lorry test shows I can drive a larger vehicle.  Driving a truck is a really important job, virtually everything we have in our homes has been transported in this way.  The recent DVSA changes are a great way to help get new drivers behind the wheel, but it wasn’t an easy ride, the tests are tough.  It’s a really good career and since Brexit, wages more accurately reflect the level of skill required to do the job.”

Chris Morgan runs The LGV driver training team, with firm ABC in Newton-le-Willows where Gareth did his training. He says:

“The post Brexit turmoil has seen a pressure on truckers like never before. The revised test rules mean we can get more drivers behind the wheel in time for Xmas. With the new process there’s no need for drivers to jump through unnecessary hoops.  It’s great to see a success story like Gareth’s come out of the recent chaos.

Another development is independent test centres being allowed to run tests for LGV drivers. Our centre is now providing this service and is among the first private training providers certified to assess the reversing and uncoupling module of the HGV practical assessment. Across the UK the new measures should result in around 20,000 more test slots a year. 

It has been a painful period but training up our own UK workforce can only be a good thing for the economy. What has been a largely overlooked profession has finally been put centre stage where it belongs.”

Lorry driving is not on the Government list of skilled jobs; meaning qualified EU drivers can’t obtain a visa to work in the UK.

The lack of qualified LGV/HGV drivers has impacted food and fuel supplies in the UK. An ageing workforce, the impact of Brexit and the pandemic are blamed for the shortages. In April 2021 tax changes preventing drivers remaining self-employed further exacerbated the driver shortages. Freelance drivers were forced to become employed under IR35 rules. 

The Road Haulage Association estimates the driver shortage in the UK stands at around 85,000 drivers. 



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