After a successful career in housing, Carla has founded a community interest company.
It was my local university, and my mum had been a mature student there, studying a law degree. I chose the degree because I had become interested in politics and political theory at A level. I also wanted to have a more practical and professional element which is why I chose social policy.
It was hard work doing a joint honours while working part-time but it was worth it, particularly because I then chose a career in a field of social policy. I enjoyed the debates with my fellow students and tutors, and made lifelong friends. My degree prepared me well for my career.
Firstly, by acquiring research skills which have always stood me in good stead throughout my jobs (and life). Secondly, it gave me a solid grounding in UK social policy including housing, particularly the legislative and political contexts. This provided me with a base to go on and practice in a social policy field and to complete further academic study.
I completed a PgDip Housing Policy and Management at another university. I went on to have a 15-year career across the UK housing sector, from trainee to director, at various local authorities and housing associations working across all housing tenures. I later completed an MSc Urban Policy and Regeneration, studying part-time while working.
I am director of The Ethical Lettings Agency community interest company. As managing director I am responsible for everything, including setting up the business, all strategy, finances, marketing governance, and operations. This community interest company is the first of its kind in the country that will combine ethical, quality and affordable services to private landlords and tenants, whilst reinvesting all profits into the Redcar and Cleveland community through a community grant programme. My aim is to build a community business that grows, trains and employs local people, and then goes national, helping the private rented sector to be better and communities to thrive.