MY first job was a bit of a disaster. I was a Saturday girl at the indoor market in the Arndale Centre, and earned £7.50 for a long, tedious day’s work.

There was no lunchbreak - I ate my sandwiches behind the counter, between serving customers - and my last job of the day was filling the mop bucket. I couldn’t wait to mop that floor because it meant that, at long last, it was almost 5.30pm.

It was a material and haberdashery stall, and the job involved measuring and cutting large rolls of fabric, mostly shades of peach and mint green for bridesmaids’ dresses. Looking back, it seems quite a skilled job to give a 15-year-old. Because I’m left-handed and find scissors awkward to use, I’d invariably cut the fabric at a wonky angle - to be later returned by disgruntled customers.

I hated the job and was useless at it, so after six months I got another Saturday job, in a bakery. The pay was even worse, but we got to take home free cream cakes at the end of the day.

I was reminded of my market stall days this week when, following a spread of archive photos of Bradford’s old Kirkgate Market that I ran in the T&A, someone got in touch to say they’d had a Saturday job there. Her memories were fonder than mine.

I worked all through my teens, from the age of 13 when I started babysitting. As a student, I worked in factories and cafes in the holidays - one summer I spent my days in a shampoo factory and evenings pulling pints in a local pub.

After I graduated I temped, mostly filing, then a few months booking appointments for carpet sales reps - a job I loathed. But, dull as it was, it gave me experience of office work (I’d never even touched a computer until then) and telephone skills, which was all good grounding when I started as a news reporter.

I made a point of including all my Saturday and holiday jobs on my CV because it showed, I hoped, that I was a grafter, with varied experience of workplaces. That’s why I think weekend jobs are important for young people. It shows they have initiative and a good work ethic.

But are Saturday jobs still a thing? When I was a kid you could walk into a shop and come out with a job. These days there are lengthy application processes, with forms and interviews, and hundreds of applicants, just for one Saturday job.

My friend’s daughter went for a weekend job in a department store when she was at school and had to go through two interviews and produce a reference.

It’s a shame if the Saturday job is no longer a staple of teenage life, because a lack of early work experience can affect employment skills later on. An Association of Graduate Recruiters survey found that half of UK employers believe graduates lack basic workplace skills, including teamwork, problem-solving, decision-making and self awareness.

These are skills that are developed through early experiences of work, while at school, college or university, or work placements as part of a course or apprenticeship. If graduates don’t have this kind of work experience they’re going to lack skills that are attractive to employers.

Saturday jobs play a key role in nurturing young people’s workplace skills and, says the AGR, allow them to reflect on their experiences and find out what they’re good at, what they need to work on and what they disliked - all useful to build on when making career choices. I knew early on, through trial and error (mostly error), that selling bridesmaid dress fabric wasn’t for me.

The AGR says work experience should play a bigger part in schools, with better collaboration with businesses. An unpaid work placement gives valuable insight into how the business/commercial/industrial world operates.

While this foundation for building employment skills is vital within schools and colleges, young people should also have the opportunity to experience the sheer boredom of a casual job - and that should help them appreciate their career choices in later life.