Some of the most famous names in English cricket will join up with leading tech firms to fundraise for The Challenge this week.
Clare Taylor, the only English woman to have played both football and cricket in a World Cup team, and fellow stars of the game Simon Jones and Monty Panesar will take part in a friendly cricket game on Thursday.
The cricketers will join players from 12 tech companies, all of whom work with Salesforce, the world's leading cloud computing CRM software. The idea came about from makepositive, a firm that uses Salesforce to come up with solutions for large global enterprises.
makepositive are taking on apprentices from The Challenge's Salesforce apprenticeship programme (Step Forward) and have been so impressed by the programme that they wanted to do more to help. Several other firms taking part have also hired Step Forward apprentices.
Clare Taylor said she was happy to fundraise for The Challenge because "social integration is a cause close to my heart". Clare currently works as an assistant manager at a charity in Yorkshire that helps people from all backgrounds to cycle. "It's so important for people to mix and meet with people from different backgrounds - and that's just what The Challenge does. We need to get to know people from different backgrounds so that we understand different cultures and different ways of thinking. It makes our society more tolerant and more vibrant," she said.
Clare is also a strong advocate of apprenticeships and says there is a lot to be said for learning through "hands-on training".
Anand Atwal, a former Step Forward apprentice now working at a company called Audio Network said: "Step Forward has given me the opportunity to achieve qualifications in Salesforce that compliment my role. The scheme has provided me with an in-demand skillset that will accelerate my career."
Other tech firms taking part include: Salesforce, ebsta, natterbox, FinancialForce, bluewolf, MapAnything, Inviqa, Brightgen, 4C and New Voice Media.