Jane Nelson, Executive Director of Mears Group, has been awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 10th anniversary of the Women in Construction Awards.The Women in Construction Awards showcase the brightest and best female talent in the house building and construction industries, and recognises the growing impact women have in the construction industry.Jane received the Lifetime Achievement Award for her long-standing commitment and outstanding contribution to the construction and housing sectors.On accepting her award, Jane said: “What an honour and privilege it is to receive this award – thank you so much. I work in a great industry that can provide fantastic careers for many people, but building maintenance is often the unsung part of the construction industry. So, I accept this award on behalf of all my building maintenance colleagues, particularly those who work hard every day to look after the homes of social housing tenants.“I’ve loved my career so far, but it’s far from over. I plan to do everything I can to help the building maintenance sector continue to innovate and provide excellent services to social housing tenants – and encourage more women to get involved and get more companies to do more to help them.“There is a skills shortage in the construction sector, yet just one or two per cent of building trade operatives are female – the industry has tolerated this inequality for too long. Together, we can do something about that. We need to encourage more women into construction and we must give them the opportunities and support to succeed.”Jane grew up on a council estate in the north east and is passionate about helping others from similar backgrounds to have the same opportunities that she has had. She is in regular demand as a popular speaker at national conferences, where she often focuses on encouraging contractors and clients to recruit more women into the trades and she vigorously champions that cause both within her own company and the sector at large.Jane started her career as a trainee painter and decorator, and rose through the ranks to run all of the operations of a large Local Authority DLO in East London. She tendered and won one of the first partnering contracts in the social housing building maintenance sector and, after joining a large national construction company in 2000, she went on to tender, win and run the first Joint Venture in that sector.As Executive Director of Mears Group, Jane specialises in providing innovative solutions and has developed some models that are now increasingly used in the social housing sector. One of her innovative delivery models involves working with subsidiaries of housing associations and local authorities. One such contract in South Wales (United Welsh) won the Chartered Institute of Housing‘s UK Housing Award for Innovative Service Delivery last year and the National Housing Maintenance Federation’s ‘Best of the Best’ Award in the previous year. She also leads two other businesses for her company.She is, in short, a game changer.Outside of work, Jane sat on the Board of an Arm’s Length Management Organisation for social housing as a non-executive director for a number of years and is currently a Trustee of Construction Youth Trust, a charity which specialises in securing construction-related training and employment for disadvantaged youngsters. She is also a Trustee of a furniture recycle centre in North London and a shadow board member of a new housing association in Hertfordshire.As well as her prized City and Guilds in Painting and Decorating (Advanced Craft), Jane holds a MSc in Construction Refurbishment Management from University College London.