Peter Shaw is a service support assistant with a local council's library services. He is part of the council's pool of drivers who are called upon whenever goods and people need transportation. When not needed as a driver, he helps in the library and the post room.
Can you describe your role as a van driver?
I am part of a team that delivers goods to other council offices and provides support for the mobile library service. Also, I look after security and routine maintenance in the library building.
What driving work do you do?
That depends what duty I am assigned to. On driver duties I deliver internal mail to the civic centre. While I am there I collect parcels and mail to take back to the central library. I could also collect payslips, cash and cheques from the payroll departments.
I also work on the home library delivery service. That involves driving a library assistant who takes books directly to the homes of housebound people who are unable to come in to a library. I also drive all the material such as display boards, leaflets and posters to exhibitions.
What else do you do?
Driving and delivering does not take up all my working week and I do other duties when I am not needed.
For instance, I work behind one of the reception desks in the library. That involves greeting people as they arrive and giving them directions to where they want to find material. Also, I log in deliveries from outside suppliers and make sure they arrive at the relevant offices.
What hours do you work?
The council operates a flexitime system where we can vary our starting and finishing times. Basically, I work a 35-hour week, although I may need to work longer if I need to drive back material from an evening exhibition, for instance. However, I get time off for extra hours worked in an evening.
Do you need a Large Goods Vehicle licence?
Generally not as we drive cars and small vans. There are one or two drivers who do need an LGV driving licence but they are employed specifically to drive the mobile library unit. This unit travels to areas within the locality where no library building exists.
What skills do you need to become a van driver?
There is a lot of contact with the public in this job, so it's important to enjoy working with people and be pleasant and friendly with them. The work can be quite heavy, as a lot of lifting and carrying is involved, so you should be physically fit. This job involves a wide range of different tasks so you need to be flexible and adaptable.
What do you like most about your van driving job?
The work I do each day is very varied. I like the chance to meet people and I enjoy working on my own initiative.
Peter's route to his van driver job
- CLAIT course – Computer Literacy and Information Technology.
- BTEC Electrical/Electronic Engineering.
- Driving licence.
Peter's van driver tips
- Previous experience in work like driving and deliveries, security or the public service sector can be useful.
Van driver related jobs
- Bus driver
- Large goods vehicle driver
- Taxi driver
- Road transport manager
Salary of a van driver
- Starting salaries for drivers are around £11,000, rising to £14,500 although you may get more if you are employed as an LGV driver or undertake additional duties.
How to become a van drivern
- You may not need formal academic qualifications to become a driver, but local authority employers may ask for GCSEs in English and maths.
- You need an appropriate licence and a good driving record, as well as good eyesight and good colour vision. Driving experience, and, in some cases, experience of working with people, may be useful.
- NVQs/SVQs in Road Haulage and Distribution at Level 1 and Transporting Goods by Road Level 2 are available.
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