This article covers the following jobs:
- Ambulance Care Assistant
- Ambulance Paramedic
- Bus/Coach Driver
- Driving Instructor
- Driving Examiner
- Emergency Care Assistant (Ambulance)
- Furniture Remover
- Lorry Driver
- Motorcycle Courier
- Taxi Driver
- Van Delivery Assistant
- Van Driver.
The job descriptions are only a brief summary. It is recommended that you do further research on jobs that interest you.
Video: - Various: Driving
Road transport - passengers
A lot of driving jobs involve carrying people to and from their destination. The jobs in this section involve driving cars, buses and ambulances.
The majority of bus drivers work on local routes. The driver must keep to a schedule and is expected to give advice to passengers regarding connecting services. Bus drivers have to keep in contact with a communication centre by radio. This keeps them informed of problems such as roadworks, accidents and bad weather conditions.
Drivers working on express coach services often have to drive lengthy distances, which could include some motorway driving. Some drivers may take their coaches and passengers on tours overseas.
To become a bus/coach driver, you must have a Passenger Carrying Vehicle (PCV) licence and be at least 18 years old. However, most candidates are usually at least 21 years old. A full, clean driving licence is essential.
Some people enter this career via a Passenger Carrying Vehicle Driving (Bus and Coach) Intermediate Level Apprenticeship.
Ambulance paramedics, usually working with emergency care assistants (ECAs), are the first healthcare professionals at the scene of an accident or medical emergency.
They are trained in advanced life-saving techniques, use sophisticated equipment such as heart defibrillators, and can treat the patient with oxygen and drugs.
Paramedics and ECAs usually work together as a team. They travel to the scene of accidents and emergencies, treat patients and take them to hospital.
They have to check that the first aid equipment and supplies of drugs on the ambulance are in order. They must also check their vehicles, for example, tyre pressure and oil and water levels.
To become a paramedic, you either need to start as a student paramedic with a local ambulance service and complete approved training, or take an approved higher education course full-time before entering work.
Chauffeurs/chauffeuses work for private households, large companies and local or central government departments. Their main duty is to drive people, safely and punctually, to their destinations.
Those employed by private households may have to drive their employers to appointments and social events. Those employed by large companies may drive senior executives or guests to meetings, airports and hotels.
To become a chauffeur/chauffeuse, you must have a great deal of driving experience. A clean driving licence would be very useful.
Ambulance Care Assistant
Ambulance care assistants work on the non-emergency side of the ambulance service. They transport patients, for example, older adults and disabled people, to and from hospitals, day centres and clinics.
Assistants drive the ambulance, help patients in and out, and make them comfortable and secure. They may have to go into patients' homes to collect them. Looking after the patients' safety, welfare and dignity is a very important part of the job.
The assistant has to check, clean and disinfect the ambulance and restock any supplies. They also keep records of their journeys and of their patients.
Entry requirements vary between ambulance service trusts. Some ask for a few GCSEs or equivalent. You must have a full driving licence.
Emergency Care Assistant (Ambulance)
Emergency care assistants (ECAs) work with paramedics in accident and emergency ambulance crews. They use their emergency driving skills to get to scenes of accidents and medical emergencies quickly and safely.
Once at the scene, they help paramedics to give patients the urgent care and treatment they need. They can monitor things such as blood pressure and breathing rate. ECAs can give patients oxygen and deal with problems such as wounds and fractures.
Apart from the emergency work, they also have to look after and clean the ambulance, making sure it has all the equipment and drugs it needs.
To become an ECA, you need to enter a trainee post with a local ambulance service. All applicants must have a full manual driving licence.
Taxi drivers carry passengers to a required destination in return for payment. They may drive a Hackney carriage or a private hire vehicle.
Hackney carriages are usually purpose-built vehicles such as traditional black cabs. Hackney drivers may work from a rank or pick up in the street. Private hire vehicles may only carry out pre-booked work.
Drivers make local or long distance journeys and need to have a thorough knowledge of regional and local routes.
Taxi drivers are responsible for keeping their vehicles roadworthy and might occasionally have to make minor emergency repairs. They must be able to deal with all kinds of people, and may sometimes get difficult customers.
To become a taxi driver, you must be aged 21 or over and hold a full, clean driving licence. In London, a licence is granted only when you have passed a driving test and a series of oral and written examinations covering routes, which is known as 'the knowledge'.
Outside London, most local authorities have their own tests covering local knowledge and a driving test.
Teaching and testing
To pass the driving test, most people need lessons. Some are taught by friends and family, but most pay qualified driving instructors to teach them.
As well as driving lessons, at some point, you will have to take a test. The test will need to be carried out by a qualified driving examiner.
Driving instructors teach driving skills, road sense and safety to people who are learning to drive. The instructor plans the lesson to suit the stage of learning the client has reached.
The driving instructor sits next to the learner driver and explains good driving techniques, such as how to use the gears, turn corners and approach roundabouts.
During the lesson, the instructor tells the client about any mistakes they are making. They also teach them about the Highway Code and they make sure that the client is ready for their theory driving test.
Instructors are responsible for keeping their own records of lessons booked and money paid and owed. They may be able to go on to become large goods vehicle (LGV), and passenger carrying vehicle (PCV), instructors.
To become a driving instructor, you must have held a full driving licence for at least four out of the last six years. Any convictions will be taken into account. You must register with the Driving Standards Agency (DSA) as an Approved Driving Instructor (ADI).
Driving examiners sit alongside candidates while they take their driving tests. They watch the way the candidates drive to check that they do so in a safe way and that they follow all the rules of the road.
Before tests, examiners check the learner driver's eyesight by asking them to read a number plate 20.5 metres away. They will then ask two car safety questions.
Once the test begins, the examiner will give simple instructions and check that all areas of the candidates driving are up to standard. Some of the things the examiner will check include:
- emergency stopping
- turning in the road
- reversing around a corner
- reverse parking.
At the end of the test, the examiner will tell the candidate whether they have passed or failed and give them feedback on how they performed. Finally, the examiner will go back to the test centre and write a short report.
To become a driving examiner, you'll need to have had a driving licence for at least four years and have no more than three penalty points on your licence.
Road transport - goods
A lot of driving jobs are in distribution. This generally involves taking goods from one destination to another.
There is a wide variety in the types of goods you might deliver if you did one of these jobs. For example, you might be delivering furniture to someone's new home, or you might have to take dangerous chemicals from the UK to another country in Europe.
Van drivers collect items from one place and deliver them to another. They usually drive commercial vehicles and handle 'light goods'.
The driver sorts out the schedule, plans the route and loads the van so that the goods are in the correct order to be delivered. They then transport the goods to the customer's premises and unload them. The driver may have to complete records, time sheets and other paperwork.
Many van drivers are responsible for sales as well as delivery. They will usually have an area in which they visit all customers and potential customers, taking orders and delivering goods.
Drivers must be able to concentrate for long periods of time and have good driving skills.
Lorry or large goods vehicle (LGV) drivers are responsible for the delivery and collection of goods throughout the UK and on the Continent.
Drivers have to plan the quickest route and keep records of mileage and deliveries. They must make sure that they follow rules concerning how fast they should drive and for how long.
Lorry drivers need to be good drivers who can concentrate for long periods of time, and who don't mind working unsocial hours.
To gain an LGV drivers' licence, you must pass a test comprising theory and practical elements. To apply, you should normally be aged 18 and over and have a clean driving licence.
Some people enter this career via a Driving Goods Vehicles Intermediate Level Apprenticeship.
Motorcycle couriers take letters, packages and documents from one place to another. They receive the details of a delivery job via a two-way radio. They then ride to the customer's premises and collect the items, which might be fragile. They have to get them quickly to the destination specified.
Couriers need to be able to work on their own without direct supervision. They should know the local area well.
Starting as a motorcycle courier can be expensive. You need a good reliable bike and equipment, such as protective clothing and panniers for carrying delivery items.
Training is usually on-the-job.
Van Delivery Assistant
Van delivery assistants help van drivers to load and unload goods. Before the journey, they help to secure goods to avoid them getting damaged.
When they reach their destination, the delivery assistant helps unload and carry the goods into the customer's home or premises. After the run, they may clean the van and help with any minor repairs.
Van delivery assistants need to be physically fit and have a good knowledge of the local area. They usually train on-the-job with an experienced driver.
Furniture removers move the contents of houses and offices from one place to another. They start by packing the contents of the house or office. This may include fragile objects, such as china and glassware, which have to be wrapped and packed carefully. They then load all the furniture, carpets and other items into a van and secure them.
Some items of furniture are too big or heavy to move, so they have to be taken apart. The remover travels in the van and unloads the contents when they arrive at their destination. As they often deal with heavy items, they must know the correct way to bend and lift.
You'll need a full driving licence. A large goods vehicle licence may be required. The DVLA (Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency) provides more information on licences.
Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA)
Driving Instructors Association (DIA)
Address: Leon House, 233 High Street, Croydon CR0 9XT
Tel: 020 8686 8010
Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA)
Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (CILT UK)
Address: Earlstrees Court, Earlstrees Road, Corby, Northamptonshire NN17 4AX
Tel: 01536 740100
Careers in Logistics
Address: Langstone Technology Park, Langstone Road, Havant, Hampshire PO9 1SA
Tel: 0844 5619149
National Courier and Despatch Association (NCDA)
Address: 21a Brownlow Mews, London WC1N 2LA
Tel: 020 7685 1132
Driver and Vehicle Agency (DVA)
Transport Training Services Ltd (TTS)
Address: 15 Dundrod Road, Nutts Corner, Crumlin, County Antrim BT29 4SS
Tel: 028 9082 5653
Institute of Couriers (IOC)
Address: 2 Broome Road, Billericay, Essex CM11 1ES
Tel: 0844 8920557
Road Haulage Association (RHA)
Address: Roadway House, Bretton Way, Bretton, Peterborough PE3 8DD
Tel: 01733 261456
Driving licences for taxis and private hire vehicles
UK government services and information