Nicolae, Royal Exchange and Central Library, Manchester

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Tell us a bit about yourself.
I am 36 and I am originally from Romania. I have been selling the magazine for nearly two years now.

What’s been happening lately?
I went to the Google Garage today in Manchester. The people at Google spoke to me for over two hours and they learnt about my work history and my character and they put together a CV for me. They also advised me courses I could take to learn English.

‘I do feel stressed sometimes but I just keep smiling.’

What’s next?
Now that I have a CV I would like to look for a new job. I am very happy about this. Also I want to take an English class. I speak a little English but I need to improve. It is difficult for me because I cannot read or write. I only went to school for a year when I was a boy. My father got cancer so I had to give up school to help look after him, and then he passed away and I looked after my mother. I am an only child so there was only me and my mother then. From the age of 12 I was working, doing a bit of everything to help earn some money. I have hard working hands!

What kind of job are you looking for?
I would take any kind of work. I would work in a restaurant kitchen or cleaning. I would be happy to do anything to better myself and to improve things. I would wash up dishes. I know how to do that already! I just want a normal wage. But I still enjoy selling the magazine. I am happy doing this. If I could find a new job I could still sell the magazine as well. There are good days and bad days, but I have some great customers and they treat me nicely.

How did you find out about the Google Garage?
The staff in the Big Issue North office arranged the visit and came with me. The office staff are very good people. Everybody has been very helpful when I have had a problem. They help me a lot.

What do you wish for?
My dream is to go back to Romania one day and fix the house where my mother lives – to repair it and live there with her. But I cannot afford to do that at the moment. My mother has some health problems with high blood pressure and I miss her very much. We speak on the phone sometimes but it is expensive to call her.

You are always smiling. Do you ever feel sad?
I do feel stressed sometimes, but I just keep smiling. That keeps me going. You have to smile, otherwise, well, you have to be happy.

Do you have a message for your customers?
Thank you. I wish you lots of happiness for you and your family.

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