From Mparntwe (Alice Springs) to Narrm (Melbourne)

By Seth Robinson

Raymond Tilmouth first came to Melbourne as part of the National Indigenous Business Summer School. Two years later, he’s studying in the Bachelor of Commerce and thinking of all the places his studies might take him in the future.

Raymond, an Arrernte man, grew up in Alice Springs, surrounded by family and community, and fostering a passion for cinema. As he grew older, he began to look at his options, deciding that he was interested in a career in business or law. It was with this in mind that he came to the National Indigenous Business Summer School (NIBSS).

“We have a very high Indigenous population in the Northern Territory, and at most schools they’ll have an Indigenous Liaison Officer. It was the Indigenous Liaison Officer at my school who told me about the NIBSS. I had been looking at – and applying for – lots of opportunities, but this one really stood out to me. It was a fantastic chance to connect with the community here in Melbourne and at the University. I learnt a lot, and I met a lot of brilliant people.”

The NIBSS program served as a foundation for Raymond’s studies in business, and the starting point of a pathway that has led to his enrolment in the Bachelor of Commerce (BCom).

Raymond Tilmouth
(L-R) Professor Paul Jensen, Raymond Tilmouth, Professor Marcia Langton.

“NIBSS really inspired me to look at my options, and see what kind of pathways might be available to me. I first came to the University of Melbourne through the Community Access Program (CAP), as I hadn’t completed Maths Methods in high school. That was a great experience because it gave me an understanding of the concepts that go into mathematics, and the rules that make it work. It’s a lot like learning a new language.”

Now, Raymond is in his first year of the BCom, and is eager to make the most of his studies.

“I want to major in Management and Marketing, so that’s something I’m keeping in mind as I move forward. I think I’d also like to go on exchange to somewhere like Japan, or even Germany. My mother’s side of the family is German-Romani, so I feel a strong connection there, and would be eager to explore and learn in that part of the world.”

When he finishes his studies, Raymond is eager to return to Alice Springs and use his business skills to give back to the community, but exactly what his future holds remains to be seen.

“I think the moral thing to do is to give back to that community, where I was raised, that gave me so much. So many young people leave Alice Springs, and they never go back. How can we expect to keep the place alive if that’s the way it is?” he says. “I’ve actually been doing a cadetship with the Central Australian Aboriginal Congress, so that’s a program that runs throughout my studies, where I work with them, and then when I graduate there’s the opportunity for a job. I’m also still interested in the possibility of doing a Juris Doctor (JD) when I finish the BCom and continuing to build on that foundation.”

Raymond hasn’t ruled out the idea of using his business skills to work in the film industry either, perhaps producing. At the moment he’s writing a screenplay, which draws on his experiences growing up in the Northern Territory.