Evelyn O’Brien is a self-employed graphic designer

As a former Tús participant Evelyn carried out her placement at Carlow Tourism and attributes her decision to set up her own business to her positive experience in her role with the organisation.

 ‘I had been unemployed for nearly two years after being let go from a job, as a direct result of the economic downturn, when Tús called with the opportunity to interview for a graphic designer role. I gladly took up the offer as I had been to international jobs fairs in Dublin and had considered emigrating to Canada if nothing turned up in the foreseeable future. I really didn’t want to move away – I am a home bird at heart – but there had been no work for so long’, says Evelyn.


Having met with the Tús supervisor from Carlow County Development Partnership, Evelyn was successful at interview and took up a placement with Carlow Tourism. Here she says she got to do what she loved to do – graphic design.

‘It was great to be back working in what I had been trained to do. I worked two and a half days a week and became very involved in the job. Sometimes as a designer you don’t know much about the job you are working on, however with Carlow Tourism I knew a lot about the job and what was required, and therefore I had great freedom to be creative and I worked very closely with the management team.

‘The Tús programme was instrumental in giving me the confidence to set up my business, Under The Oak Tree Designs. Carlow Tourism has been so positive and the team there have offered me great support. Many of my clients today are as a result of referrals or word of mouth. I hope to get my website up and running soon also which will hopefully also grow my reach’, Evelyn says.

On a personal level, Evelyn is very grateful to the Tús programme for the kick-start she needed to get her own business up and running.


‘Tús allowed me to stay at home in Ireland at a time when I was utterly disheartened and disillusioned with the future. I thought I was going to have to choose a different path of work but just as I was about to make a move, this opportunity arose. My Tús supervisor was amazing and I always felt I had his support as he visited every week to see that the placement was working well. I am very grateful for the opportunity with Tús. I am running my own business at present as a result of what I got out of my Tús placement.’