TELL A DIFFERENT STORY

Wake up to an exciting job with different challenges and faces every day

Our story

in 2019

4500 guide

assignments

28 Guides trained

Start your story with us

THE LOCATION

The gateway to the fjords

Bergen is a vibrant and modern city, surrounded by its seven mountains and the City Fjord - and is home to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Bryggen!

 

As well as being the second largest city in Norway, Bergen is Norway's most visited city – serving as the gateway to the fjords to over 3.5 million visitors each year.

Bergen's port is one of the busiest in Norway, and about 600,000 people visit the city by cruise ship each year.

The peak guiding season in Bergen runs from May to the end of September.

THE COMPANY

Norwegian Guide Service

Founded in 1991, Norwegian Guide Service takes care of over 50 local Guides to provide our guests with the highest quality visit to Bergen. We are part of a larger family of companies, with a heritage of almost 170 years, started by the legendary Thomas Bennett. 

Our Guides work primarily with cruise ship guests through Norway’s leading cruise-tour operator, European Cruise Service, covering over 80% of cruise-ship visits to Bergen. Most of our office team are themselves NGS-qualified Guides.

We rely on our rich history, striving to remain at the forefront of quality guided experiences in Bergen and Norway.

THE JOB

All about the stories

As a Guide, you are responsible for creating memorable experiences of Bergen and the surrounding fjords for your guests.​

You will lead groups on specially-designed routes showcasing the different faces of Bergen, from two-hour panoramic city experiences to ‘full-day’ tours of the region.

Guiding is not a full-time job, nor a part-time job with predetermined working hours.

 

Guides are freelancers; they acquire the skills and knowledge to qualify for ever more challenging assignments.

NGS is a guide service company hiring the services of Guides, providing them with assignments to fulfill the requests of our clients. The amount and duration of the assignments you can be booked for depends on your language & skills, your availability throughout the season, and the amount and type of tours sold by our clients. Guides are then paid per assignment, with the rate reflecting the assignment duration and number of languages.

Cruise guests usually visit Bergen within 7-12 hours - thus many Guides accept assignments around study, family and other work, while others fully commit themselves to the assignments on offer.

Guides are hired as contractors on an assignment-based, freelance-style arrangement.

THE CANDIDATES

Dedicated, international storytellers

Our Guides are positive, service-minded, and always flexible. They are self-confident, witty and charming, but also humble and caring.

They are enthusiastic about sharing their knowledge and stories to fascinate and enchant others, as well as being very good listeners.

Excellent language and communication skills are key; our Guides must speak English plus one or more of the following: Italian, Spanish, German, Dutch, French, Portuguese.

Norwegian is not a requirement.

The intensity of the cruise season varies, so candidates must be prepared to have the flexibility for busy and light days, as well as days free, throughout the week.

All Guides must take (and pass) our Basic Requirements training, and stay in Bergen to work steadily until the end of August or mid-September.

THE BENEFITS

Be part of our guiding community

The opportunity to share your love for Bergen with curious visitors who are fascinated by Norway - and earn money by doing that!

Working alongside passionate, interesting people that care about the human element of their job

Highly competitive pay

Free education and NGS certification

An exciting opportunity to work in your native and second languages

A job that connects people and is enhanced by your communication style and interests

A flexible work schedule that you can suit to your needs

The possibility of returning to guide for following seasons

Career opportunities within a developing network of companies

An environment that highly values and recognises dedication, loyalty and experience

 
Rita - guiding since 2017

"I can't wait for the next season to start [...] I love my guests and have so much fun with them. Can’t wait to be surrounded by interested, fun loving people [...] and to give them fun stories to take back to their countries and an experience to remember. Best job ever!” "

 

Support from A to Bergen

GUIDE TRAINING AND DEVELOPMENT

Online & on-site training and support

Working as a Guide in cruise tourism requires a special set of skills and knowledge.

The NGS Training Platform prepares you to be a Guide partner, covering everything from an introduction to the Norwegian service and cruise industries, right through to communication, presentation and group management techniques - as well as essential knowledge of Norway and Bergen.​

All selected candidates will need to complete our Guide Basic Requirements training in English (online & on-site learning and examination).

After being certified to fulfill the basic requirements, you will start guiding and continue to develop yourself as a Guide with us, capable of taking on ever more complex and varied experiences.

Norwegian Guide Service sponsors the costs of the training, development and certification of our Guide partners. Candidates must be able to support themselves during the Basic Requirements training.

ONLINE

Free educational platform with worldwide access - open from early 2020

We want you to start with the confidence and ability to charm your guests with your stories of Bergen and Norway from day one.

Our online Google classroom is always open. So study at a time and place that suits you best.

We have designed our educational materials and quizzes to give you a strong starting knowledge of Norway, Bergen and the service industry.

Our educational materials are in English.

ON-SITE

Team & individual training in Bergen - from early 2020

Guiding is a very practical, hands-on job and an important part of your training and development will happen through seminars, observation and practice tours - as well as independent study and visits.​

 

We aim to give everyone a structured yet flexible training path to acquire the necessary skills and experience. You will be joining a network of Guides, new and experienced, and it is a perfect opportunity for us to meet each other and feel part of the NGS team!

Our on-site Basic Requirements training is mandatory for all applicants (local and international), and gives you real experience of guiding on bus and on foot and visiting our attractions.

You will also develop your own guiding techniques and take a compulsory safety course for access to the ports of Bergen.

Our on-site training is conducted in English - although you will be tested on all your guiding languages.

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BEYOND

Your first stories as a fully-qualified Guide

You will start taking on your own assignments as soon as possible after fulfilling the minimum criteria and receiving your NGS Basic Requirements certification.

Thanks to your commitment during the Guide training, you will be able to amaze even the most experienced travellers with your insight into Bergen and your guiding abilities.

But you are far from being done; during the season, you will continue to accumulate knowledge and develop your skills - through independent study, by learning tips and tricks from our experienced Guides on tour, and through further certification with NGS.

Guides who increase their guiding repertoire are able to increase their potential earnings over the season.

Guide FAQ

General

Do I need to be Norwegian or from Bergen to become a guide?


Some of our guides are Norwegian while others are from different parts of the world. You do not need to be Norwegian or from Bergen to become a guide with Norwegian Guide Service (NGS) but you do need to be genuinely in love with Bergen and Norway.. Working as a guide means working in an international environment, and we see the cultural diversity of our guides as an asset.




Do I need to know Norwegian to become a guide?


You don’t need to know Norwegian to become a guide, but the core educational literature and training is in English. Knowing Norwegian can be useful, so we do warmly encourage you to learn and use it if you don’t already.




What is the guiding season in Bergen?


The guiding season is defined by the tourist activity in Bergen. Cruise ships start arriving in January and the last are leaving Bergen in mid November. However, the high season in Bergen is from the end of April to mid-September, with June usually being the busiest month of the season. Refer to Bergen Havn’s website for statistics on cruise calls at https://bergenhavn.no/en/cruise-en/cruise-statistics




How can I apply?


First and foremost, read carefully the job description on our website to familiarize yourself fully with our offer and the job requirements. After you have decided that becoming a guide with NGS is something for you, you need apply via our online form. After that we take it from there together.




What are the most required languages for guiding?


English and German are the two main languages that most cruise passengers coming to Bergen speak. Spanish, Italian, French and Dutch are also in high demand. A guide’s language skills are a large factor in the number of possible assignments they will be offered during the season.




What do I get in return for working with NGS?


We are passionate about guiding and we view it as a profoundly human experience. Working with guides gives us a chance to help them become better and do the best work they can. The skills you acquire as a guide will help you for the rest of your life: how to speak to large groups of people so that they will listen; how to lead a group of people, how to manage emergencies and difficult situations; how to react professionally to complaints and emotional outbreaks, and many other skills in addition to that. We operate over 80% of the cruise calls, which means our guides have a large percentage of the guiding assignments in Bergen. You will also benefit from an international environment of professionals to work with and a chance to develop and certify skills to build a career.




Can I develop a career with NGS?


Once you become a certified NGS guide you also have the possibility to return to guide for NGS the following seasons; many of our guides return to guide season after season. NGS is also a part of a larger network of companies all over Norway and Northern Europe. Working as a guide with NGS might just be the stepping stone towards future career in the service industry. Our network is continuously growing, and should you apply for other positions, starting as a guide is a great way to get noticed.




What are the steps towards becoming a guide?


You will find details of the application process on our website.





Guide Course

Do I need to do the course to become a guide?


Yes; everyone who wants to become a guide with NGS must complete the online and on-site elements of the guide Basic Requirements training. This is because there are specific tasks, techniques and standards required of all our guides by our company and our clients.




Will I get paid while I am doing the course?


Guides work as freelancers and it is assumed that when they accept assignments they bring with them the skills and competence to fulfill the assignment to a satisfactory level. It is the responsibility of every guide to acquire and develop these skills and competences. This is why the Guide Course is not paid. We aim to get you working as soon as possible after your completion of our Basic Requirements training. The education and certification programme to become a guide is an investment in your future.




Do I have to pay for the course?


The costs for the courses, seminars and materials are sponsored by NGS. Guides do not get paid for training, but attending these and continuously developing your guiding competence will open up possibilities and opportunities to take on longer and more complex assignments. When guides develop their knowledge and skills, they should view it as a long-term investment that will pay back over the years to come.




How is the course organised?


You will find details of the guide Course on our website.




What do I need to bring for the guide training?


You will need to invest the time and undivided attention necessary to get as much out of it as you can. You will however be required to come to the on-site training dressed smartly and appropriately for the weather - please refer to our FAQ on uniform. You will be given details on how to obtain your NGS-branded clothing in time for your first assignment.




What if I fail to get certified?


It is very seldom that our students fail. That is because we invest a lot in our guides and we only select candidates that we believe would make good guides. If it does happen that you fail one of the exams, we will encourage you to retake and pass the exam so that you can become even more confident. If you fail to demonstrate your guiding ability in a particular language, we will agree to re-examine you later, or simply decide together that it is enough with the languages you already have passed. Guides cannot start working before having successfully achieved the basic requirements for guiding.




Am I guaranteed paid assignments after the guide course?


If you successfully complete and pass the course, you will receive a certificate and work agreement that enable you to work as a guide with NGS. We will then endeavour to give you as many assignments as possible, as per your availability, requirements, skills and the needs of our clients. You will find more details on assignments and expected work in the Employment section of this FAQ.




If I want to come and guide next summer with NGS, do I have to go through the selection process again?


No. Once you have received your certification you are qualified to guide for NGS in the future.




Is there further guide training during the season?


After your initial experience from the Basic Requirements training, you have the possibility to join your fellow Guides on tour as observers (trainees). For certain tours, you must have been an observer before being allowed to lead them on your own - such as full-day Hardanger and Flåm tours. We also provide Guides with a continuous training path to become further certified to take more diverse assignments.





International

Is there anything I need to do to be able to work in Norway?


It is your responsibility to check whether you are able to work in Norway. Please consult the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration (UDI) website at www.udi.no/en and the Service Centre for Foreign Workers (SUA) at www.sua.no/en for more information. Also find more information at http://www.robinhoodhuset.no/about-us/activities/advice-and-guidance/.




Do I need a work permit?


Citizens of an EU/EEA country are allowed to visit and work for 3 months. After 3 months you have to register with the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration (UDI). It is your responsibility to check whether you need a work permit. Consult the UDI website at www.udi.no/en and the Service Centre for Foreign Workers (SUA) at www.sua.no/en




Do I need a tax card?


Yes, you will need to pay Norwegian Income Tax. This usually amounts to 20% to 36% of the income. However, if you overpay tax during the summer, this will be refunded the year after; likewise, if you have underpaid your tax, you will have to repay what is owed. Foreign workers can receive some substantial tax relief for the first two years in Norway. Refer to https://www.skatteetaten.no/en/person/taxes/tax-return/find-item/3/3/7/1




Will I have to pay tax? And if so, how much?


Yes, you will need to pay Norwegian Income Tax. This usually amounts to 20% to 36% of the income. However, if you overpay tax during the summer, this will be refunded the year after. Foreign workers receive some tax relief for the first two years in Norway. Refer to https://www.skatteetaten.no/en/person/taxes/tax-return/find-item/3/3/7/1




Do I need a visa to come to Norway?


Citizens of Nordic and EU/EEA countries do not need a visa to come to Norway. It is, however, your responsibility to check if you do need a visa to come to Norway. You can do that here: https://www.udi.no/en/want-to-apply/




Does Norwegian Guide Service organise accommodation?


Guides are responsible for finding accommodation in advance of their arrival to Bergen. We strongly advise you to find accommodation in the city centre as this makes life and work much easier.




How do I find a place to stay in Bergen?


Most people looking for a place to rent use websites such as www.hybel.no or www.finn.no Look at local transport connections on www.skyss.no/en/




How much does it cost to rent in Bergen?


Prices vary depending on location, size and standard, but in Bergen city centre you can find a room in a shared flat for as little as 3700 NOK and as much as 7000 NOK. The average is around 5000 NOK per person. On top of that you should usually calculate electricity costs. Be advised that many places will require a 2 or 3 months deposit which will usually be returned at the end of your stay.




What should my budget be to live in Bergen?


You should consider a minimum of 7500 NOK per month to cover living costs (accommodation, electricity, internet, phone etc.) and food (home cooked). Food costs could be around 2000 NOK per person, per month. Approximate costs per person, in Norwegian Krone NOK (calculated in 2019): Accommodation pr. Month - 5000 (city centre area, room in a shared flat, including internet) Food pr. Month - 2000 Social pr. Month - 800 Electricity pr. Month (summertime usage) - 350 (unless the electricity is included in your rent) Internett at home pr. month: 450 (but is usually included in rent) Phone pr. Month - 150 Transport options: Bus/tram travel pass (monthly) - 780 per month, 38 for 1,5 hour ticket. City bikes (for the year) - 399 Clothes for season - 800




What other financial practicalities are there to consider?


Please be aware that many landlords require two or three months of rent as a refundable deposit. Your salary will be paid out monthly on the 15th of the following month. Also remember that your salary amount depends on the assignments that you have worked - so your first and last salary payments will usually be less since you may not have been guiding for the entire month. Students with valid Student ID can often get discounts on travel passes and other services.





Application

I have worked with a different guide agency in the past. Can I still apply?


We welcome guides that have worked with sister companies within our network.




The deadline has passed. Can I still apply?


If the deadline for applications has passed you can no longer apply.




I am not available throughout the whole season. Can I still apply?


You can still apply but guides who are available for the whole season have an advantage in the recruitment process.




I do not have enough funds to support myself during the guide course and training until my first salary. Can I still apply?


After the course you will start working and the first salary you will get will be on the 15th, the month after. It is your responsibility to provide for yourself during the guide course and training. If you cannot manage this season, we hope you can try again the next season.




I do not have any previous work experience. Can I still apply?


Not having work experience does not mean you cannot become a fantastic guide. But you must prove in the application process that you have experience to being committed to work as an employment or volunteer in a charitable or non-governmental organization and that you have people that can endorse you as a worker.




I do not live in Bergen. Can I still apply?


Yes. But you do eventually have to be in Bergen to complete the steps to be certified and then start working as a guide.




I do not live in the city centre. Can I still apply?


Yes, although we have experienced that guides living outside the city centre have a higher chance of being late because of trouble with their means of transportation (bus, tram etc.)




I do not have a passport and I live outside of Norway. Can I still apply?


You must make sure to obtain a passport by the time you travel to Norway. Our guides who have come to Norway and did not have a passport, have had difficulties with the paperwork (opening a bank account, getting a tax card etc.)




I am not an EU/EEA citizen. Can I still apply?


Unfortunately, not, unless you already reside in Europe and have the appropriate documentation to live and work in Norway. It is your responsibility to check that you are entitled to live and work in Norway. Check via https://www.udi.no/en/




I don’t currently live in Bergen. If I get invited for an interview how will that work?


All interviews will include an online video call.




I don’t have a visa for Norway. Can I still apply?


You must be entitled to work and live in Norway by the time you apply. This includes the visa. It is your responsibility to check that you are entitled to live and work in Norway. Check via https://www.udi.no/en/




I don’t have a work permit for Norway. Can I still apply?


You must be entitled to work and live in Norway by the time you apply. This includes the application for a work permit. It is your responsibility to check that you are entitled to live and work in Norway. Check via https://www.udi.no/en/





Tours

What kind of tours will I be doing?


Throughout a season, guides will experience and lead a variety of tours, such as: two-hour city panoramic tours by coach, tours around Bergen’s coast via coach and ferry, hiking tours up Mount Fløyen, scenic bus tours with 50 guests along the fjords with lunch, and many other tour varieties.




How can I practice and improve my guiding skills?


As well as online and printed sources, the best sources of information are your NGS colleagues and your guests. The NGS guide Course is designed to give you the skills and training to be a fantastic guide. NGS will also offer additional training sessions, based on guide and client feedback, to continually develop your guiding skills throughout the season.





Employment

Will I be employed as a guide?


Guides are hired as freelancers, and not as an employee. You agree to NGS being the sole entity that provides you with guide assignments, and you accept the ones you can work. This however does not guarantee a certain amount of assignments or volume of work from NGS, but that we will provide assignments as we get requests from our clients. The working relationship with NGS is regulated by a written agreement in which NGS is a client hiring the services of the guide as a freelancer. Guides are paid per assignment, with the rate reflecting the assignment duration and number of languages.




Do I have to pay tax?


Yes, you will have to pay tax. Unless you are registered as self-employed in Norway, NGS is legally required to automatically pay tax for you in accordance with your registered Norwegian tax card. You must make sure you apply for and have the correct tax card registered with the Norwegian tax office (Skatteetaten). Tax is paid by our accounting department from your gross amount before you are paid your net salary for each working month.




Do I get employee insurance?


Being consultants to NGS, regular employee insurance does not apply to guides. However, you will be covered by an obligatory Norwegian occupational injury insurance for medical emergencies when at work. If you are a resident of Norway, then you have the standard health insurance provided by the social security system. EU/EEA citizens are covered for most health expenses by their European Health Insurance. Very often our guides from other countries obtain travel insurance for convenience.




Do I have the right for paid sick-leave?


Freelancers do not have the right to paid sick-leave. The argument goes that since you are not obliged to take all assignments you are offered, the right for paid sick-leave does not apply. After the 17th working day you have a right to apply for sick leave from the Norwegian Labour and Welfare Administration (NAV).




Do I have to stay and work the entire season?


Some of our guides only work for part of the season, some work through the year. To plan the season, it is important for us to agree the period during which you are available to take on assignments. NGS will prioritise guides who can and show the desire to work for the entire season. A guide’s availability is a large factor in the number of possible assignments they will be offered during the season.




Is guiding a full-time job? How much can I expect to work?


Guiding is not a full-time job, nor a part-time job with predetermined working hours. As a Guide, you accept assignments that NGS will offer based on the bookings from different clients. There are a number of factors that affect the number of assignments on offer, and thus the number of hours Guides can work per month:

  • Tour sales and their distribution throughout the day
  • Guide availability during the season - this has to match with the tour times
  • Guide language skills - this has to match with the tour language/s
  • Guide ability, knowledge and certification - this has to match with the itinerary & venues of the tour
Guides are paid per assignment, with the rate reflecting the assignment duration and number of languages.
May, June, July and August are the peak months, with June being the busiest month. We do not guarantee a minimum or maximum number of hours. However, on average, our guides based in Bergen work around 20 to 25 days per month in the high season. Duration of tours varies between 2 and 9 hours. Should you guide outside of Bergen, paid travel time will come in addition to that. Some guides only work as a guide while others have other jobs on the side.




How are assignments assigned to guides?


Tour assignments are determined by the demand from NGS’ clients. Available assignments are then distributed amongst Guides according to language, skills, attitude and dedication. We aim to book guides as fairly as possible throughout the season, and guides that prioritise their work with NGS will be prioritised for assignments.




How much can I expect to earn?


Unfortunately, it is difficult to predict what you might earn since there are many factors to consider, and the number of tour assignments on offer is limited. Remember that Guides are paid per assignment, with the rate reflecting the assignment duration and number of languages. Last season, some first-year guides with high availability from May to September - guiding in two in-demand languages - earned around 75.000NOK in total - on average approx 15.500NOK in each month worked. Returning guides can usually expect to earn more - since their increased experience and skills suits longer and more specialised assignments. Last season, some returning Guides with high availability from May to September - guiding in two in-demand languages - earned 120.000NOK over the season on average. Some first-year and returning guides with limited availability due to other commitments - guiding in two in-demand languages - earned around 47.000NOK in total.




Do you get tips (gratuities) as a guide in Norway?


According to the law in Norway, tips are subject to taxation and employers must record the value of tips received by individual employees. Norwegian Guide Service finds that the mechanisms needed to keep track, control and enforce the collection and reporting of tips are not implementable. Thus, our policy is that our Guide partners must neither ask for, nor accept, tips for their services. This is a policy that NGS has agreed with all of its partners.




Can I do other paid work while working as a guide?


Many guides choose to dedicate themselves fully to guiding while others choose to do it part time, or together with other work in restaurants, bars or teaching different disciplines. Having a side income parallel to guiding is perfectly manageable; it is just important for us to communicate regularly and in advance so that we can both have a predictable season. We think that it is fair that guides who prioritise their work with NGS will also be prioritised for assignments.




When do guides get paid?


Guides get paid for on the 15th of every month for the work done the month before. For example, all guide assignments worked in May will be paid on the 15th of June. Please bear this in mind when applying to make sure you have enough funds to support yourself until your first income.





Administration

Do I need a mobile phone and Norwegian phone number? Do I get refunded for the costs of my calls/SMS?


You must have a contactable mobile phone to work as a guide; mobiles are required for receiving and confirming assignments, as well as for during the tours (e.g. emergencies, contacting the office). A nominal amount will be included in the payment to guides for each assignment to cover the costs of the SMS/calls. Guides using non-Norwegian mobile numbers will be charged a fee due to increased costs on our side. Norwegian SIM cards can be obtained using a national ID card, passport or a Norwegian D number. There are both pay-as-you-go (kontant) and subscription plans available.




Is there a uniform? Do I have to pay for it?


Our guides are required to arrive smartly for assignments wearing: - A white shirt/polo shirt - Black trousers/black skirt - Black shoes - An NGS-branded green jacket (weather and waterproof) Guides can choose to find and buy their own green jacket that will be branded, buy or loan a ready branded jacket from NGS Guides that choose to buy their own NGS work jacket, will be responsible for sourcing a suitable green jacket, and for the upkeep of these items and will receive a nominal amount with their first salary payment for their chosen green jacket that will receive NGS branding. Guides that choose to buy or loan a NGS green jacket can pay a deposit or fee. You will receive a yellow visibility vest, which is obligatory on certain piers in Bergen. Some clients also require that we wear accessories their own logos or symbols.




Are there any other clothing requirements?


Since Bergen can be such a rainy city, we recommend that you are prepared for the weather with rain boots, rain trousers, wool underwear, etc.





 
 

START YOUR STORY

Please read all the information above and the Guide FAQ before starting!

Deadline: ongoing

Guides need to be available for the full duration of the online & on-site Guide Course.

Guides must be able to support themselves financially during the Guide Course and until the first salary payment on the 15th of the month.

Norwegian Guide Service AS

Skoltegrunnskaien 1

N-5003 Bergen

 

Business Reg. no. 961 107 393

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Norwegian Guide Service