I’m really good at concentrating on details for long periods of time – and that’s very useful in this job!
Esmee Bleker has been working as a Data Management Expert at Safe Bank since August 2022. She joined ING as part of the ‘Unknown Talent’ programme, which helps find suitable jobs for talented people with an occupational disability.
When Esmee dropped out of a degree course for the second time, she decided to get herself tested. “I was found to have autism spectrum disorder. Suddenly a lot of things fell into place. It was out of the question to continue training as a maths teacher. I really liked mathematics, but there are far too many triggers when you’re standing in front of a class. So I started a biology course at the University of Amsterdam. There were far fewer students and it suited me perfectly. I completed my bachelor’s degree in 2021.”
Making data models
Then it was time for her to find a job. “But what? I took a data science & data engineering course at IT Vitae, which provides IT and data training specially for people with autism. It was a perfect fit with my interests and with something that I’d really enjoyed during my biology degree: making data models.”
“It’s through IT Vitae that I also came into contact with ING. I went to an Unknown Talent speed-dating day and got a match. So in August 2022 I started as a Data Management Expert at Safe Bank. Among other things, we supply customers’ and employees’ login data to the Fraud department as part of the bank’s security measures.”
“I spend half of my 32-hour working week on data management and the other half on engineering. The engineering part is calmer; I can focus on building something and delivering it when it’s ready. In the data management role I’m more dependent on other teams that have to provide input or feedback. That combination is a challenge sometimes, but I’m getting better at it all the time.”
“I’ve definitely made great progress since I started working here – not only in terms of my tech expertise, but also personally and socially. Previously there was no way I’d have gone to departmental drinks or on a business trip to visit our colleagues in Romania, but I would now. I want to invest in my network because I want to stay at ING. And my colleagues make things easy for me: they know about my autism disorder, take it into account and understand why certain situations are difficult for me. I can just be myself here.”
Getting to grips with data and tools
“It also helps that I find the work really interesting. I love getting to grips with data and the tools to use it. I think my biggest contribution to the team is that I’m really good at concentrating on details for long periods of time. I dig deeply into things and don’t stop until I’ve got to the bottom of them. And that’s very useful in this job!”
- Started studying Biomedical Sciences, then started a teacher training course in Mathematics before eventually obtaining her bachelor’s degree in Biology
- Reads a lot, preferably fantasy novels
- Plays computer games
- Aims to go to the gym at least once a week
- Recently bought her own house and has acquired two cats since moving in.
Through the Unknown Talent programme, ING recruits talented people with an occupational disability.