If you were at Baltic Creative’s Bloom event in May, you would have heard from the next gen workforce! If you missed it, don’t worry—we’ve got the best insights from the panel, titled “What’s the Point? Finding Purpose at Work,” right here.

Our speakers included entrepreneurs, students, and experts in early-career support for young people. This fascinating discussion will give employers understand of what the next generation are looking for in their careers.

Indiana Ibreck-Donlon, a Student of Applied Entrepreneurship at LJMU, curated and hosted the panel, which featured Holly Carter, a freelance graphic designer who flourished after working in Baltic Creative’s spaces; Gaby Mendes, founder of Talk Twenties, who pivoted from teaching to entrepreneurship; Sana Aboarook, programme facilitator at Agent Academy CIC, passionate about supporting young people; and Marybeth Heulwen Firminger, a fashion student at LJMU on the cusp of her career.

Wide shot of the next gen panel, showing speakers and the host
‘What’s the Point? Finding Purpose at Work’ at Bloom. (L-R: Holly, Gaby, Sana, Marybeth, and Indiana)

Top 5 Career Priorities for Young Professionals


Passion is crucial for career fulfilment. Gaby transitioned from teaching to entrepreneurship by identifying her core values and strengths. She remarked, “When you’re in the entrepreneurial space, if you don’t eat, sleep, breathe what you do, then it’s really hard to get up each day.” Sana found her passion in supporting others through the Agent Academy programme, which provided real-world work experience and industry insights. These projects allowed Sana to incorporate her personal passion for race equality into her work. “Our client challenge was with the Anthony Walker Foundation to create a campaign for their new hate crime reporting tool,” Sana explained. This project was especially significant for her as she applied her own experiences and knowledge.


Openness and honesty are essential in the workplace. Holly’s transparency about her skills helped her build trust and succeed in freelancing. She shared, “Being open, honest, and transparent with them was the pivotal point for me, which has now meant that I’m working for the agencies and studios that I was originally asking to shadow five or six years ago.” Marybeth emphasised the importance of self-belief and staying true to one’s values. “I made the decision to believe in myself,” she said. She noted that she wouldn’t have made it as far as she has without this self-belief.


Support from more experienced team members is key for young professionals. Sana shared how supporting others at Agent Academy felt right for her and stressed the importance of experienced professionals mentoring young talent. “Giving support where you can, offering time to young people, sharing your own experiences or insights with them can be really valuable,” she said. Gaby agreed on the importance of having mentors who believe in your abilities and offer guidance. Gaby said, “You need someone externally to say ‘I believe in you, I think you can do it,’ and this will help you believe in yourself.”


Being part of a supportive community can significantly impact career growth. Holly and Sana both benefited from working in Baltic Creative’s spaces, connecting with like-minded individuals who provided opportunities and support. Holly spoke about the importance of being immersed in a community when she worked from LJMU’s Shed on Baltic’s Creative Campus. “When I left university I was then able to become a part of a community that had the same mindset as me,” she said. Sana emphasised the power of collaboration and how being part of a community can lead to mutual support and growth. “I became friends with Holly because we work in the same building,” she told the audience, “to be able to connect her with people and for her to do that for me has been really meaningful.”


Both physical and mental space is vital for young professionals to succeed and be confident in their abilities. Holly stressed the importance of an environment where asking questions is encouraged, allowing for risk-taking and learning. Whilst Sana and Marybeth highlighted the need for confidence in making decisions that align with personal values and ideals. Sana advised, “If you’re a young person and you’re kind of still figuring out what your journey is, don’t be afraid to take the not very conventional route.” Marybeth emphasised, “Have the confidence to actually make the decision going forward that does not compromise who you are or what your beliefs and ideals are.”

Understanding the priorities of the next generation workforce is essential for business owners looking to attract and retain top talent. By encouraging passion, being open, providing mentorship, building a supportive community, and offering space for growth, employers can create an environment where Gen Z and millennial workers thrive. Embrace these insights to build a dynamic, engaged, and purpose-driven team!

For a more in-depth discussion, don’t forget to watch the full panel on YouTube.