Students’ vocational knowledge can be defined as all knowledge students require performing within occupational practice. In the context of vocational education and training, students’ vocational knowledge is often discussed from a perspective of either what should be taught and learned in schools or different kinds of knowledge students should gain in occupational practice. Much less focus is on students’ vocational knowledge itself. This exploratory in-depth study aims to describe what characterises students’ vocational knowledge. To explore students’ vocational knowledge, an analytic framework is used to describe vocational knowledge characteristics specifying: (1) occupation-specific knowledge components, and (2) qualities. Results show the framework provides a structure to gain insight into the nature and meaning of vocational knowledge, and is valuable to describe characteristics in terms of knowledge components such as technical procedures or the social and occupational environment, and qualities such as richness, complexity and specificity. Additionally, to use an existing framework – originally developed in the contexts of ICT and Social Work – its usefulness is explored in a new context, namely, the hospitality industry. Recommendations about the framework serving as a potential tool to support students’ learning processes are provided.