This doctoral dissertation discusses the prospects of a new vocational education programme, awarding the title "Nature Conservation Technician" (2008/09), in terms of societal needs for specific professional profiles in the field of nature conservation as well as in terms of employment opportunities. This research work includes three sets of empirical surveys. One set is designed to answer research questions, such as: Which professional profiles in the field of nature conservation do we need?, What kind of activities, tasks and processes should such professionals be able to perform? and Which generic and occupationally specific competencies are necessary for successful working the field of nature conservation? The other set answers the question, Which of such generic and professional competencies have students been developing and practising in the Nature Conservation programme? The qualitative research part finds that the profession recognizes the societal needs for vocational and professional profiles in the field of nature conservation. It further finds that such needs are apparent in the field of nature conservation supervision, which is currently underdeveloped in Slovenia, in the field of natural and cultural landscape and park infrastructure care and maintenance, and finally in the area of interpretation, provision of information and guidance in protected areas. However, experts also emphasize that despite the societal needs for professionals in the field of nature conservation there are few employment opportunities directly in this field. The model of occupationally specific competencies includes field monitoring and supervision, and restoration, care and maintenance of natural and cultural landscapes and park infrastructure. Quantitative research, which was carried out among the first generation of the Nature Conservation programme students (2008/09-2011/12), has shown insufficient training in and development of occupationally specific competencies which the experts have defined as important. The third part studies the usage of different teaching methods among practical instruction teachers. The encouraging finding, however, is that practical instruction teachers are using various teaching methods and forms of work, which contribute to more efficient development of generic and occupationally specific competencies.