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How do I become a Truck Driver? – An Interview with Ellen Ashton


(Updated February 2022)

Not a day goes by when we don’t get an enquiry asking us “How do you become an LGV driver?” or “How do I get my Class 1 licence?”

So, we decided it was time to catch up with one of our LGV Driving Instructors over a cuppa to find out exactly what makes a Goldstar driver.

We are lifting the lid on our industry as we show you exactly what makes us Goldstar.

At Goldstar, we believe in retaining the best employees and breaking boundaries when it comes to innovative business solutions for our customers.

Our staff aren’t just here to do a job, they are committed to making a difference. Together we promote a diverse and strong transport workforce that supports UK growth.

A coffee break with Ellen Ashton – LGV Driving Instructor, Woolpit

When Ellie was in school, she had a boyfriend whose Dad was a truck driver, and would often wash trucks with him in the yard on a Saturday or join him on trips down to Wales to collect coal in bulk.

She distinctly remembers telling him that it would be her driving the trucks one day.

Ellie eventually went on to become a Prison officer HMPS Highpoint, a job she enjoyed for 10 years. Upon leaving the prison service in 2013, she tried out a few other jobs, before deciding to apply for her HGV licence. By June 2014 she had her Class 1 Licence.

The rest is history and now, as a Goldstar LGV Instructor, Ellie helps others achieve their dream of becoming a truck driver.

Ellie’s Quick-Fire Questions

Where does the LGV training take place?

The training happens at the Goldstar yard in Woolpit for those that come through our academy, but we also train and test in Ipswich.

Can you break down the training process for us?

The training prosses starts with the student having to get a D4. This is a medical form filled in by their doctor – there will be a charge for this, but the amount varies from GP to GP.

They then need to complete a D2 provisional application form to get the entitlement onto their driving licence, as you have to gain Class C licence first before you can do your C&E.

Once all the paperwork is in place, it’s time for a week of training consisting of driving and reversing of a large vehicle. Training starts on a Monday then they take a test on Friday.

As soon as students pass their class C their licence gets sent off and will automatically come back to the student with their C&E provisional entitlement on it.

If they move on to class one C&E, they undertake another week of training before completing a second test.

Finally, the student will have to complete a Mod 4 test. This module concerns the safe loading and security of the vehicle and is a requirement if you want to drive for hire or reward.

How much does the LGV Training cost?

The cost of training is £1200 per licence.

Can Goldstar help with the training costs?

We require a minimum of £500 deposit (for each licence) but the student could pay this outright, or the student pays the deposit and Goldstar will loan them the rest of the money. The student will sign a loan agreement, and the loan will be taken from their wages each week at £50 per week until paid in full.

Will I get a job when I qualify?

Students coming through the academy are guaranteed a job with Goldstar, they will also be given a mentor for 2-3 weeks, then a final assessment drive with one of the instructors, to make sure they are safe and competent before they go out on their own.

What makes a good HGV Driver?

Of course, it helps to enjoy driving In no particular order, you have to have good concentration levels, plenty of patience, be able to think on their feet and, and NOT be late for our customers 😀

The Important Questions

Trucking isn’t just a job – it’s a lifestyle.

How did you end up being an LGV Instructor?

I passed my test and did my two weeks with a mentor. I enjoyed this time so much that I decided to become a Goldstar mentor myself. Then an opportunity came up in the training department and I got the job! I liked the mentoring side of it so much, that I decided to go for the instructor’s role. Goldstar put me through the training, and now I’m on the “National Register of LGV Instructors”

Best part of driving for a living?

Early morning watching the sun rising, having whatever music I like on, singing in the cab (lol) and being independent and in control of my day.

Pet peeve on the job?

My pet PEEVE was the state of the toilets in some of the truck stops.

Favourite part about being a Goldstar LGV Driving Instructor?

I get to meet all kinds of people from all walks of life.

What do you do when you’re not working?

I think it’s so important to keep active as when you drive for a living it’s very easy to eat unhealthily and gain weight. I like to walk, and I also enjoy gardening, baking and reading.  

Women in the UK Transport Industry

As women are still in the minority in our industry, we took the opportunity to ask Ellie her opinions on a few things. Goldstar is committed to being an equal opportunities company and we believe the more we champion women in the industry the sooner we’ll see a more even split between men and women in the workforce.

Why do you think more women aren’t coming into the industry?

I think because traditionally it’s been a male-dominated industry, women just aren’t aware of all the opportunities there are in this industry, but now that it’s now an equal opportunity industry, more and more women are taking their tests.

Is sexism a problem in the industry?

I have experienced sexism in the past, but management has been very supportive.

It helps that I have a strong character and working in a men’s prison for 10 years has stood me in good stead! On the whole, the drivers are very helpful and respective of woman drivers and things are getting better all the time.

In Ellie’s own words: “I think Goldstar are great, drivers & staff are friendly and approachable, drivers will always help each other out. 

The company has everything a driver needs for a long and successful driving career, keeping everyone up to date with CPC Hours, Tipper, Splitter and Genset training.”

Thanks Ellie – We couldn’t agree more.