All of our guides, and indeed any you are likely to encounter in the Alps, are IFMGA qualified and will be wearing the badge in the top right hand corner of the diagram below.
IFMGA stands for International Federation of Mountain Guide Associations, and is the umbrella organisation which mountain guide organisations from various countries are allowed to join once they have shown that their training and assessment programs are of a sufficiently high standard. (Great Britain, for example, joined in the mid seventies).
It is the highest award for mountaineering and skiing activities, and whilst individual country's training schemes differ somewhat, qualified guides from any member country are considered as being the same standard, with all the basic disciplines having been rigorously assessed. Unlike in Britain where anyone can guide people in the mountains regardless of qualification, only IFMGA guides are allowed to work in the high mountains, on glaciers, etc. in most Alpine countries. Illegal guiding is taken very seriously and has resulted in prison sentences for those caught.
One thing it’s not is a holiday job. Guides normally have at least ten years of mountaineering and skiing experience before having enough to apply for the training scheme; this then lasts four years with a two year apprenticeship and multiple week long military style assessments giving plenty of opportunities to get knocked back a year (as MBG's head guide was!) or even kicked out completely.