I’ve had a relationship with CABA for quite some time. I’m an ambitious person and I like to achieve my best, and that’s meant that I’ve needed support from time to time. I first came across CABA when I was a student and doing my ACA exams. I’d experienced several challenging personal events and I didn’t know where to turn.

At the time, I was 26 and had been married for just over a year when a family member became ill. As a result, 2 children, who didn’t live near me, became dependent upon me. It was a lot of pressure on my time and finances, and really affected my ability to focus. I was young and inexperienced, and I convinced myself that the best way to handle things at work was to show no vulnerability and hide the fact that I was struggling. I told my line manager about my circumstances but asked her not to tell anyone else.

Of course, the inevitable happened.  Eventually it all got too much for me. Things started to slip through my hands because of the pressure, and my marriage and my studies both suffered. It felt like things came to a head all at once when my wife and I decided to separate temporarily, and I failed an ACA exam.

My employer terminated my contract because of the failed exam. So it became very clear to me that if I didn’t change my approach I was going to lose everything I had been working for.  I realised I needed help, and I did 2 things. First, I explained to my employer the situation I was in and the pressure I was under. And then I reached out to CABA. My employer was incredible, and took the unusual step of rehiring me, sponsoring me through resitting the exams and giving me the time off I needed to look after these children who were dependent on me.

CABA supported me in a number of ways. They’re such a great organisation because they deal with the whole person, not just a specific problem or situation. They gave me some resilience training, they provided me with a sympathetic ear via their helpline and they gave me career coaching and support to get me through this difficult period. They even offered counselling support to the children who were dependent on me. All this help meant that I came out of the situation stronger than ever. I’m now doing well in my career and my marriage is back on track. The family member was discharged from hospital and the children are back in a happy, secure environment. 

Any way CABA could find to support my wellbeing, they did. I would tell any student who’s feeling under pressure, don’t focus on keeping up a front. Instead, reach out to CABA and communicate with your employer as soon as possible. 

Since then I’ve been working with CABA to put on a series of wellbeing events and soft-skills courses for chartered accountants in my area. They’ve been an excellent service provider in every way. Mostly, I’m through the other side of my difficulties and I am so grateful to CABA for making life more manageable during such a challenging time.

And it’s not just my personal wellbeing that’s been enhanced through CABA. Working with a career coach has made me define and work towards my goals. For example, getting international work experience is really important to me, and I’m now forging ahead towards that goal with enthusiasm and optimism. I’d recommend CABA to anyone looking to achieve their personal best, and I know I’d contact them again if I ever find myself in a difficult situation. 

How CABA can help

CABA supports the wellbeing of past and present ICAEW members, ACA students, ICAEW staff members, and their spouses, partners and children up to the age of 25. For advice, information and support please: