In February 2004 I had a £100 bet with Dennis Lenard, the then new chief executive of Constructing Excellence.

The bet was based on a statement he had made in November 2003 in which he said the construction industry would train and retain 300,000 trained craftspeople in two years. The statement went on to say that Constructing Excellence would change the negative image of the construction industry, also within two years. My position was that both of these were unobtainable promises based on hype and spin. The editor of Building has held the £200 stakes for the bet and has to decide the winner.

If anyone has seen any of Mr Lenard's 300,000 trained and retained craftspeople could they let me know where they are as I have not seen many of them. The only large source of new labour for the industry, at least in London, has been cheap labour imported from Eastern Europe. The image of the industry is, in general, as negative as it ever was.

It really does take more than PR bullshit to change the industry. No real attempt has been made to make the industry more attractive to new people and its negative image is nearer the truth than we like to admit.

I believe Mr Lenard has now gone back to Australia and if this is true I would just like to say good luck with the new job Dennis and thanks for the hundred quid (a cheque will do nicely).

John Smith, clerk of works, Cluttons