Karen leads NZCER’s research programme on vocational and professional education. She believes strongly in the rich learning potential of all kinds of settings, and has a particular interest in those outside of educational institutions.
Karen recently led the Knowing Practice project which explored transformational learning experiences with GP registrars, carpentry apprentices, engineering technician cadets and their workplace mentors/teachers. She has produced guides for carpentry apprentices and for ITO on-job assessment systems, and analyses of international workplace learning research and SME engagement in training. She is currently researching apprenticeship and workforce capability in the social and community support sector.
Karen has also done extensive research on career education and youth transition, including projects on career management competencies; career education networks across schools, tertiary education and industry; a five year study of post-school pathway experiences with 120 young adults; a review of the Secondary-Tertiary Alignment Resource (STAR); and a re-design of prison education.
Prior to joining NZCER, Karen had a software business, building bespoke applications for SMEs. She was also a research consultant and lecturer at the University of Auckland. Karen has a PhD from the University of Auckland and is currently undertaking a PGDip in Business.