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Cyber Centurions on guard at Kyle Academy

A unique internet security centre has just opened at Kyle Academy in Ayr. The Cyber Centurions centre is an opportunity for young people at the school to learn about protecting data — stopping potential hackers in their tracks. 

South Ayrshire Council has been working with the Prince's Trust and Developing Young Workforce Ayrshire (DYW) to put the centre in place so young people can not only protect their own data but also prepare themselves for the world of work. Data storage and online security is big business as more and more organisations look to store information virtually. School leavers with knowledge of this technology could be a cut above the rest when it comes to getting a job particularly in IT. Just over £18,000 of funding has been invested in the scheme by the Prince's Trust and DYW Ayrshire. The funding has also been used to set up a bike repair hub and train young people to become barista's serving coffee and other hot drinks. The barista's have their own business called 'Impresso Espresso' and the bike hub 'Kyle Recycle' will be run by young people too so they can hone their business skills prior to leaving school. Ayrshire College is also supporting the barista training and bike repair hub. Councillor William Grant, Lifelong Learning Portfolio Holder for South Ayrshire Council said: "Cyber Centurions is an exciting opportunity for young people as the data storage and online security sector is growing at a phenomenal rate. "These initiatives not only give practical experience, but focus on transferrable skills such as communications which will be needed in the future. The young people will also be out and about in their local communities passing on their knowledge which builds confidence too. "I would like to thank everyone involved, particularly the school and the young people for taking part and the Prince's Trust and DYW Ayrshire for the funding and hard work in pulling these projects together." The young people at Kyle Academy are looking forward to embarking on these new ventures. James Marr (15) in S4 said:" I will be going out to primary schools to talk about cyber security. It's really exciting to know that we will be helping to keep young people safe online" Connor McCallum (15) from S4 said: "I am looking to get into IT so this is a good opportunity. I am learning a lot and making new friends which I am enjoying too." Lauren MacKay (15) also in S4 said: "Cyber Centurions is really good; we are helping communities and learning new things too." Other schools in South Ayrshire are also set to benefit as similar schemes are rolled out in Carrick Academy and Girvan Academy in the near future with Ayr Academy, Queen Margaret Academy Marr College and Belmont Academy due to have initiatives in place over the next few months. Similar schemes already running at Prestwick Academy and Newton Primary are set for a second year of funding in recognition of their success. David Smith, DYW Ayrshire Chair said: "The Cyber Centurions project is an innovative project at its best and whilst the pupils will be trained in cyber security they will also learn valuable employability skills and be better suited to the world of work at the end of the project" Walter Smith, Prince's Trust Ayrshire Chair said: "The finance for the DYW Ayrshire and the Prince's Trust support of the Cyber Centurions and Impresso Espresso projects comes from the Scottish Government Youth Employment Initiative and the Scottish Government Cash Back for Kids Programme. It is great to see young people benefiting from this funding. This will help continue to develop Kyle Academy's drive on positive destinations for its pupils." Lyndsay McRoberts, Executive Head Teacher at Kyle Academy said: "Young people at Kyle have really got behind these initiatives as we look to ensure school leavers go on to jobs, training or further education. Business and IT skills are a must for a wide variety of vocations and these hands on projects cement learning in the classroom." 


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