Erica Kempken is a committed advocate and enabler for the empowerment of youth through work.

Her vision is to see a society in which youth are recognised and respected for their inherent value, and in which they can express and develop this value through the liberating power of work. Together with co-founder Jacinta Roest-Tshidzumba, she realises this vision through Youth@worK, a dynamic and highly effective social enterprise which places South African youth into corporates, community-based small businesses, social sector organisations (NGOs), and educational sector workspace opportunities. Erica and Jacinta’s key commitment in founding this organisation was to support and equip job seeking youth to be able to contribute towards their workspace, learn essential work skills and “how to work”, actively engage with social issues, and live fulfilled and financially sustainable lives.

Erica is driven by a unequivocal belief in the potential of youth, a commitment, passion and drive to see them succeed, and a faith in the liberating nature of both work and lifelong learning.

She is dynamic, kind and committed - and a highly effective communicator and powerful networker. She is able to both transmit her vision, and inspire action amongst her partners. She herself has spent 3 decades working within education and youth development and remains dedicated to a process of transformation. She believes that together, with a pledge to the youth first, strong collaborative partnerships can transform the nature and meaning of work, and ensure that youth are fully supported to step into independence, financial freedom, and the chance to thrive through identifying their purpose, and starting on their career paths.

Erica and her Youth@worK team has the humility to see things as they are, the audacity to imagine how they could be, and the tenacity to make that a reality.

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