AN APPRENTICE scheme is set to expand after a company's £18 million investment in office space.

Ultima, a provider of on-premise and cloud IT infrastructure and managed service solutions, is moving its head quarters to Reading, doubling the apprentice intake from 20 to 40 per year.

The company is also creating 50 new jobs as part of the process.

Max McNeill, Ultima's founder, said: “With Crossrail coming to Reading I believe it’s a great opportunity for us to become a centre of technology excellence.

“Manor Park was the old Thames Water HQ and over the past two years we have invested £18 million in restoring the building from a shell into a 21st Century, state-of-the-art headquarters for Ultima in the heart of south Reading.

“We have rented out some of the 40,000sq ft to other technology companies, including Fortinet and Veeam who previously weren't based in the town.

“I’ve lived in the Reading area for 34 years and being able to contribute to local employment is very important to me and demonstrates our long-term commitment to the community.”

The company was founded in 1990 in Playhatch and now employs 430 people and has a £100m turnover.

Ultima's CEO, Scott Dodds added: “We are entering a period of rapid growth and our watchword for both our customers and staff is ‘modernisation.”

He also explained the company is working on developing new service offerings including refreshed IT solutions and how they are planning to respond to consumer demands with new models for data centres and more.