bernie singleton scholarship

Supporting education and supporting communities.

The aim of the Apunipima Bernie Singleton Scholarship is to provide support to Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people from Cape York communities to undertake a full time university qualification in Health or Health Management related studies.

Central to the concept of the Scholarship is the development of a local, stable, sustainable Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander health workforce for the communities of Cape York.

It is anticipated that the provision of the Scholarship support will not only assist in building capacity, but will also impact social determinants of the people of Cape York communities, and potentially assist in facilitating generational change.

Frequently Asked Questions

How to apply

Applications for the Bernie Singleton Scholarship are to be submitted by either email or post to the contact details listed below and must address the selection criteria.

Please address and send to:
Apunipima Cape York Health Council
PO Box 12045
Cairns QLD 4870
Contact: Learning and Development Manager

Selection Process

Applications are reviewed by a selection panel and endorsed by the Apunipima Board. All applicants will be notified in writing of the outcome and successful recipients will be required to enter into an agreement with Apunipima.

The Bernie Singleton Scholarship is offered annually, the age requirements are open.

Selection Criteria

Applicants are required to address the selection criteria outlined below:

  • Must identify as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander status – please provide confirmation of nationality
  • Must be from or living in Cape York communities; your application must be supported by the community. Please include a written reference provided by the Apunipima Health Action Team, Local Council or recognised community body
  • Must be currently enrolled in University or have been accepted for placement to a University (Health or Management focused studies) for full-time studies. Please include a letter from University showing proof or acceptance and enrollment
  • Must maintain regular contact with the Apunipima Representative by email or telephone, at least once a month during the term of the Scholarship
  • Must provide the Apunipima Representative with a copy of their academic transcripts issued by their University within 4 weeks of the semester/trimester ending
  • The Recipient must participate in promotional activity, including (but not limited to) photographs, filming and written articles
  • Candidates must demonstrate a genuine interest to enter into either a Health or Management profession within the community controlled health services sector – please provide a response of no more than 2 paragraphs
  • A copy of your most recent Year 12 school report
  • A copy of your resume outlining current employment, volunteering and/or work experience


Financial support will be offered to the successful applicant for up to $7500.00 over 3 years, allocated at up to $2500.00 per year.

The recipient will use the financial support for purchases related to successfully completing their studies, and may include:

  • course fees
  • text books
  • equipment required for study, for example laptops, and
  • personal incidentals, for example travel passes and stationary.

Proof of results (pass in all subjects) must be provided at the end of each year in order to be eligible for the following year’s support.


The Bernie Singleton Scholarship will be monitored and reviewed as required. Each successful candidate is required to report to the Learning and Development Manager (for reporting to Apunipima Board members) and supply regular updates on the:

  • Proof of enrolment in their university study
  • Reference from tutors outlining commitment to study on a 6 monthly basis
  • Transcript of results following each semester
  • Criminal History Check to be completed prior to commencement of study

Study Requirements

  • The Bernie Singleton scholarship will be offered for full time University study only
  • Scholarship recipients must maintain a minimum of ‘pass’ result in all subjects in order to continue to receive the Scholarship support


Bernie Singleton has had a career in Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander affairs spanning fifty years and was Chairman of Apunipima Cape York Health Council for 13 years.

Bernie grew up in Yarrabah. His paternal grandfather was a Yirrikanji man whose country runs from Cairns to Port Douglas. His paternal grandmother was an Umpila woman whose land is a part of the KULLA Land Trust and runs into the Lockhart River Land Trust. His maternal grandfather was a Blindal man (Townsville) of the Birri Gubba tribe while his maternal grandmother was a Woppaburra woman from Great Keppel Island. Bernie also has family connections all over Queensland.

“Our approach is for the people by the people and is based on a grass-roots approach rather than a top down approach, and this is where the key difference is for our services. We believe that the health system needs to change if it is not resulting in better outcomes for our people.”

When Bernie was elected Chairman of Apunipima there were only 15 employees and the organisation was on the brink of closure. His stewardship saw Apunipima scope and develop its role as a community controlled health service. One of his greatest achievements was in 2004 when he was instrumental in securing a Deed of Commitment from the Cape York Regional Health Forum to develop a community controlled health organisation in Cape York. Shortly afterward, Apunipima began to deliver Maternal and Child Health Services, Healthy Lifestyle services and medical services across 11 communities in Cape York.

During his 13 year tenure as Chairman, Bernie also ensured that Apunipima was an active member of NACCHO and QAIHC, national and state peak bodies for Aboriginal and Islander health.