Nicholas was a school teacher from 1976–1985, and also worked for a period in educational publishing. He has been a Councillor in Lewisham, serving as the Leader of the Opposition and in 2006 and 2010, he was elected as a Councillor for West Wickham and Chairs the Council’s Education Policy Development and Scrutiny Committee. Nicholas was elected to Parliament as the MP for Pembrokeshire in 1987. He was appointed the Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Minister of State at the Department of Transport in 1990, before becoming a Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Welsh Office from 1990 to 1992. Nicholas served as a member of the Further Education Funding Council from 1992 to 1997. He was an advisor on public affairs to Price Waterhouse, before becoming Chief Executive of the Association of Consulting Engineers from 1998 to 2002. He is the Managing Director of his own company which undertakes property development and education and public affairs consultancy. Nicholas is a magistrate in Battersea.