My experience as an employability mentor for the #WorkItOut programme

My name is Carla Devine and I am the owner of Soul Coach and mentor for the #WorkItOut programme, a partnership between Business in the Community and First Housing.

Soul Coach, is a life coaching and holistic wellbeing service based in Derry/Londonderry.

My passion and purpose as a Soul Coach is to help others see their world differently by helping them to explore the thoughts, feelings, behaviours, and beliefs that shape and impact their life experiences. My role is to help those who are soul searching to rediscover and reconnect with who they really are so they can create a life that feels good from the inside out.

I first connected with Business in the Community and First Housing in early 2018, when I became a life coach and holistic therapist on the #WorkItOut programme, which is delivered in the North West of NI.

During this time, I was approached by Business in the Community NI about becoming a mentor within the employability sector of the programme as the team at #WorkItOut had identified that the young people they are working with could benefit from energy therapy and life coaching.

Taking on this voluntary role as an employability mentor was a very natural step and complimented my role as a life coach. My life motto is “to leave the world a little bit better than I found it” so the opportunity to be a mentor also aligned to my personal values of giving back and helping to make a difference, making this an easy yes for me.

As a mentor, I was matched with a young person engaging in the #WorkItOut programme. My responsibilities as a mentor include regular informal meet-ups, and being an additional avenue of support in their lives, helping them to develop confidence and build personal and professional self-esteem.

Through working with the young people, it came to our attention that some young people had limited contacts, or sometimes no-one, to turn to to discuss their emotional wellbeing needs, and the coaching programme was designed to take down the barriers to accessing this support.

The coaching programme offered the participants of the #WorkItOut programme the opportunity to speak with a professional for additional support that is independent of their housing, supported accommodation, or statutory health and social care needs. In becoming an employability mentor, I was able to provide another additional layer of support that was aligned to this area of their life

My role as a mentor has been rewarding, and the mentee I work with has been a pleasure to support. I have welcomed the additional opportunity to help a young person on their life journey and enjoyed the mentor role of: providing independent support, sharing and discussing experiences, learnings, goals, aspirations, barriers and steps as needed to help with their career.

It’s been an honour and a privilege to now see this young person grow and flourish. This young person has attended training and education programmes in their pursuit of creating a career they love. They have worked hard, now have their own business and are in employment. They are ambitious, creative and putting themselves out there as a strong player in their field. They have also developed a mindset of making a difference and have created a sector of their business that specifically supports the needs of children and young people with autism and/or learning disabilities. They are a natural entrepreneur with a warm approach and a resilient manner. Their growth and new-found sense of purpose has been a very enlightening and inspirational to see, and they deserve every bit of success they have created. I want to tell them to ‘Keep winning!’.

Being a mentor has been a great experience, I meet my mentee for an hour every month for a coffee and a chat, it’s something I look forward to!

Business in the Community is seeking business mentors who can give just a few hours to help support disadvantaged young people (aged 16 – 25 years old) start their journey into employment, training or education through the #WorkItOut programme. This is an opportunity to make a significant difference to someone’s life, helping inspire them into the world of work, training or education, and learn new skills yourself along the way. Click here to find out more and register your interest.

About Carla Devine

Carla Devine lives in Derry/Londonderry with her husband and four children. Her educational background includes two degrees in Social Psychology and Social Work. Carla spent ten years as a health and social care service manager before retraining as a life coach specialising in emotional health and holistic wellbeing. Visit to find out more.


*** Please note, as of October 2021 #WorkItOut is no longer being delivered by Business in the Community. Please contact to discuss other volunteering opportunities available for colleagues in your organisation.***