Have you been thinking about getting your Class 1 HGV Licence?
Goldstar Transport has a long history of training drivers, and the Goldstar Training Academy has launched the careers of hundreds of excellent Class 1 HGV Drivers.
At the end of 2021, we relaunched our Goldstar Driver Academy – with a focus on training up Class 2 Drivers – anyone with a category C1, C1E, D1, D1E or C Licence.
We spoke with Martin Irons – one of the first recruits to pass through the Goldstar Driving Academy, earn his licence and join our driving team – about why he joined the academy and his experiences.
Goldstar’s HGV Driver Training Course – an insiders guide
Now a Tramper at our Southampton depot, Martin’s previous job was a Landscape Gardner/Supervisor Foreman. He told us he’s always had a career as an HGV driver in the back of his mind, but it didn’t end up being his first choice as a job after leaving school. Instead, he reignited his passion for trucks on a working holiday in Australia when he had the chance to work for a haulage company.
We caught up with Martin to find out how he found the Goldstar Driver Academy and get the lowdown on making the jump from rigid to artic.
“HGV driving didn’t work out for me until I was in my 30’s and got a taste for it working out in Oz for my cousin’s truck company. They really threw me in at the deep end, and as soon as I’d passed my test, they had me running loads between Central Syndey and Perth! I‘ve always enjoyed driving though, and I like trucks – especially the huge Mack Trucks, so when I heard through a family friend about the opportunity to gain my Class 1 with Goldstar I jumped at the chance – and the rest is history.
I passed my HGV Class 1 test in December ‘21. All it took was about one week.
As I was coming up to Woolpit from Gosport near Southampton, Goldstar secured me some accommodation for the week. I was really impressed – I had a lovely family sized hotel room with a bath, they did me a home-cooked meal every night and offered packed lunch each morning – I’d definitely recommend it”.
What should people expect from the Driver Academy training?
“My trainer was Ellie, and I can’t say enough good things about her. She is a phenomenal teacher. I was kept well informed and had all my questions answered at all times. A special mention to Mark and Sharon for helping me through everything too.
My biggest piece of advice for anyone coming into Class 1 training would be – If you come from a rigid driving background forget everything you know! Driving artics is a different ball game, so come at it with a clean slate, open your ears and listen – there’s a reason behind everything they’re telling you.
To be honest though, although the Driving Academy taught me to pass my test and I’m so grateful to them – the real learning starts once you’ve passed. Goldstar has a fantastic policy of assigning an experienced driver to act as your mentor for the first two weeks once you’ve passed.
These experienced drivers taught me everything I needed to know.
Everyone at Goldstar is friendly – for example, on my first week I messed up my hours – one of my fellow Southampton Drivers helped me sort them out and then told me to call him every night before I clocked off and we’d go through the hours together to make sure everything was correct. I’ve got another driver who I can call if I haven’t been somewhere before – they’re a really good bunch and we look out for each other. There’s a lot of support. I recently saw a serious accident, and by the time I got back everyone in the office knew and the support was really appreciated, I know they’ve got my back”.
How are you enjoying your new role as a Tramper in Southampton?
“Luckily, I’ve always been a morning person so I’m up at 3 am to freshen up and grab a coffee. Then it’s card in, load up and checks before sticking on some Radio 1 and heading out for the day. I tend to keep a paper record to the minute of what time I start and rest etc.
I’m currently driving a DAF XF and I really like it, plenty of space in the cab and a comfy bed.
Overall Goldstar is a phenomenal company – I’d say they’re the kind of company I was looking to work for when I first decided to go for my Class 1. Of course, there are pros and cons with every job – just recently I got broken into overnight, nothing was taken and luckily another driver saw them and was able to give a statement to the police as I heard nothing, that can get to you but overall, I really enjoy the job and I’ve already had a pay rise!
I’d like to take this opportunity to give a shout out to my mentor Darren, Ray the DCC at Southampton, Ellie, Mark and Sharon at the Academy and Ben and Neil in Southampton – you’re all legends”.
How to join the Goldstar HGV Driver Academy
We are currently accepting new applications and our team has places available just weeks after a successful application.
Most of our Class 2 Drivers are able to pass their Class 1 in just 1 week!
Once your application has been accepted, a member of our team will be in touch to book your date to commence. We ask for a deposit of £500 to secure your place which will be subtracted from your repayment balance. Our small team of trainers are based in Woolpit, although once you’ve qualified you can work from the depot nearest to you.
The course is £1,200 in total plus any re-tests. This cost is covered by Goldstar and repaid by you via an agreed repayment programme once you start with us.