Billum Brown

Billum Brown

How was your journey to applying for MIPEP?

In 2017 I left my logistics role in Sydney to work as a liaison officer for Indigenous Elders in Northern Victoria. I enjoyed it but funding got cut and so my position was made redundant. As I exited that role, I was referred to MIPEP at the University.

I thought studying and working in the University would create so much opportunity – the University is like the backbone of everything down here, so I thought just get a foot in the door.

Applying did seem a little daunting at first and all the natural thoughts came up like “that’s out of my league”. I ended up having a crack, I met with the Indigenous Employment Officer and did the interviews. I was lucky enough to get through and I got both positions that I wanted.

How did you find adjusting to work at Melbourne?

The change of lifestyle was a bit surreal. Going from logistics, wearing boots and around machinery all day, to being suited up an open plan office was very different. Having done the diploma and working full time, I’ve now learned to manage my time. I’ve been supported very well, and I’ve also made my own networks within my teams. It’s all trial and error to know what’s best for you – I ended up having my mentor help me out. It all took a while to come together, but it did in the end.

How did you feel about moving to Melbourne from Northern Victoria?

I had friends here, my friends from the country are down here and we’re pretty close. It was still a bit crazy to come down from the country, obviously it’s hard being away from home and family. My number one value is community which is why I’m happy to work here because there is that sense of community at the University. I love it, I love being able to have conversations in safe spaces – you feel good about it.

If you had some advice for any prospective MIPEP participants, what would it be?

That’s a bit hard because everyone is a bit different. Some people are worried because they’re coming far from home and others don’t know what’s on this side of the wall.

The skills you learn, you can take them anywhere you go to and you’ll back yourself with them. I feel so comfortable now because I’ve learned the basic skills like how to run emails and meetings, how to approach people and, importantly, how to create things for myself.

You’re going to have to take the leap of faith first but when you do, you’ll be laughing.