Nick Stephens is a member of St Nicholas Church in Warndon Village, Worcester, where he recently trained as a Reader. He works for the Ministry of Justice as an Operations Manager in the Digital and Technology team.

What part has your faith played in your work?

“I began my career in sales, but after getting divorced in 2000, I really felt that I wanted a complete change and the opportunity to give something back. My plan was to go back to college and train to become an IT teacher. At the same time, I began a temporary job working in IT at HMP Hewell in Redditch and although I completed my degree, they asked me to stay with them.

“My official job title is as a ‘Civil Servant’ and there is definitely a strong element of service in the role. Our team is there to ensure that people’s lives are better for our input – we’re not just out to get what we can from our customers.”

How has working in prison impacted your own faith?

“My faith has definitely changed while I’ve been working at the prison, but that’s down to a whole range of things. However, in the prison you are constantly reminded that there are many less fortunate than you. The purpose of prisons should be about getting people back into society and we all have a role to play in that, even if we’re not prisoner-facing. I believe it is easier if you have some form of faith, it’s why prisons have chaplaincy teams.

“I’ve spoken to the chaplains myself when facing challenging issues at work, for example we’ve had staff members who have died and one member of staff whose family member committed suicide. I also worked with a Muslim colleague who asked me to pray for him during his health issues. It’s not the kind of thing that gets taught when training to be a manager, but all these things will affect how people are able to do their jobs. I’m generally quite open about my faith, which has led to some interesting conversations!”

What advice would you give others about sharing faith in the workplace?

“Social media is a good place to start. Inevitably people will have different views on your faith, but it’s important to be honest and upfront and just accept those opinions. It doesn’t mean you have to be perfect – it’s a great chance to have conversations about failure and being human!”

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