School of excellence
Hamilton School of Motoring is a leading driving school based in Dungannon, Co. Tyrone which has been teaching people how to drive cars, taxis, 4x4s with trailers and caravans, LGVs and HGVs safely for 20 years. Managing director Declan Hamilton explains more.
Established by Declan in 2000 with the goal of achieving better and safer driving standards for his pupils, Hamilton School of Motoring is recognised as one of Northern Ireland’s most successful driving schools with one of the highest first-time pass rates around. It is a dedicated Occupational Driver Assessment and Training School designed to reduce the amount of accidents on our roads. Declan offers corporate driver training specifically tailored to suit your company’s needs.
As a specialist in its field, Hamilton School of Motoring provides a top-quality training and assessment service for companies throughout Ireland and the UK. The courses provided have many benefits to employers as well as complying with the law. The assessment is carried out in your vehicle, after which a full written report is issued.
The driving school offers one-to-one training for pupils. The assessors and instructors are highly-qualified and come from strong transport and tuition backgrounds. Declan himself has 30 years’ experience in truck driving. Hamilton School of Motoring only uses fleet registered assessors and trainers.
“I was a lorry driver before becoming a qualified driving instructor in 2000 and setting up my own motoring school,” he says.
“I began offering training for the car and trailer test covering all B+E test centres in Northern Ireland in 2008 and qualified as a lorry driving instructor two years later. I have received great support from Davy Woods, who has been a truck instructor for 40 years and runs his own driving school.
“For those in the transport industry, we offer courses which include Driver CPC, LGV and HGV training. Our aim is to provide the best possible training for safe driving for life, and to make our courses enjoyable as well as successful in obtaining your licence. We are a one-stop shop for all your training needs.”
LGV / HGV training is available seven days a week in Declan’s Volvo FM rigid or Volvo FH tractor unit. If you want to drive a large goods vehicle (HGV, LGV or PVC), you must have a full driving licence for a car. You must also be at least 18 years old and be able to pass a medical. Hamilton School of Motoring is happy to arrange this for you at no extra cost. All drivers must pass the Category C (HGV Class II – Rigid) test before proceeding to Category CE (HGV Class I – Artic).
Your HGV / LGV / PVC test will last about 90 minutes. During this time, your examiner will want you to drive safely to a high standard under various road and traffic conditions. You’ll be given directions clearly and in good time, and asked to carry out a set of exercises. The set exercises will include reversing within a marked area into the restricted opening and you need to demonstrate the uncoupling and recoupling procedure if you’re taking your test with a trailer.
Before you can begin training and apply for a practical driving test for an articulated lorry licence, you need to have completed and passed your test for Category C (rigid lorry) and have C+E provisional entitlement on your counterpart driver licence. If you wish to book training with Hamilton School of Motoring, call on 077 76322841 and they can book a test appointment for you and arrange training dates.
The training will be completed on a fully laden lorry with a professional training instructor on a full-sized vehicle, and will last for five consecutive days. The training and test will be completed at Craigavon test centre and surrounding area.
The driving school also provides training and courses for the category C1 – 7.5 Tonne Licence, e.g. horseboxes, ambulances and motorhomes. As with the B+E Entitlement, drivers passing their test from January 1997 (including re-tests) do not have automatic entitlement to drive a vehicle over 3,500kg. In order to gain this entitlement, an additional C1 driving and theory test must be taken and passed.
Hamilton School of Motoring’s C1 – 7.5 Tonne courses are designed for those who do not require the Driver CPC, e.g. any vehicle with a GVW of more than 3,500kgs such as a horsebox, ambulance, motorhome or any vehicle being driven that is carrying material or equipment to be used by the driver in the course of their work, provided that driving the vehicle is not the driver’s principle activity, or for non-commercial carriage of passengers or goods for personal use.
The Driver CPC is for LGV and PCV drivers who drive professionally throughout the UK and Ireland. It has been developed as a requirement of the EU Directive 2003/59, which is designed to improve the knowledge and skills of professional LGV and PCV drivers throughout their working life. The initial qualification must be achieved by new LGV and PCV drivers along with their vocational licence to enable them to use their licence professionally. Thirty-five hours of training every five years must be attended by all professional drivers.
Courses in Driver CPC are held regularly on weekends and on weekday evenings. The main courses offered by Hamilton School of Motoring are Cat B (car); Cat B+E (car and trailer); Cat C1 Lorry (HGV) up to 7.5 Tonnes; Cat C Lorry (HGV) over 7.5 Tonnes; Cat C+E Articulated Vehicle (HGV) and trailer; Cat D Bus (more than 16 seats); Defensive driving courses.
Hamilton School of Motoring boasts a wide and varied client-base which includes numerous haulage operators.
“We have customers from all over Northern Ireland,” Declan proudly states.
“We provide LGV and HGV training for Capper Trading Ltd here in Dungannon and Toal Truck Services in Middletown to name but two. One of the biggest issues facing transport companies at the moment is the shortage of young drivers.
“Most of our business is secured through word of mouth and recommendations from our existing customers. We get an awful lot of repeat business. It starts with people training for their car driving test. We pride ourselves on our expert training, high first-time pass rate and our professional, friendly and value-for-money service.”
Here’s to the next 20 years of this exceptional driving school!
Hamilton School of Motoring
1 Clonmore Villas,
Co. Tyrone BT71 6XL
Telephone: 077 76322841
Email: [email protected]
Published in Irish Trucker & Light Commercials magazine, Summer 2020, Vol 23 No 3