The fundamental processes of any APEL, whether specifically intended to seek NVQ accreditation or some other outcome, are based on seven key stages for the learner: • initial counselling • recognising and identifying skills • relating these skills to an agreed set of outcomes or criteria • gathering evidence of these skills • documentation of evidence • assessment of the evidence • accreditation. If APEL is to be a part of a range of college provision, it is essential that it is seen as, at the very least, part of a process of initial assessment. As such, it can never be dissociated from a strong guidance base. It will therefore be necessary for each APEL candidate to be assigned a counsellor or support worker who is conversant not only with the principles and practices of APEL, but also with the principles and practices of good educational guidance. These centre on a service that is client centred, confidential, impartial and accessible, and which seeks to inform, advise, counsel, assess, enable, advocate and give feedback. In this way, guidance can be seen to take its own distinctive place in the triangle of guidance, provision and assessment that leads both individuals and institutions to a clearer picture of what is being provided and where it could lead.