MY first proper Saturday job, not counting newspaper rounds and a weird spell selling fruit and veg to my neighbours, was waitressing in my local Pancake Place.

(For younger readers, this was a restaurant entirely dedicated to pancake meals, from traditional sweet combos like maple syrup and cream to hideous things involving haddock mornay. Some branches do still exist, but most disappeared when healthier foodie fads kicked in.)

Dressed in fetching brown gingham and mop cap, I’d serve customers from 8.30am until 6pm, earning the princely sum of £1.25 per hour plus tips. (Actor and East Kilbride legend John Hannah left me a fiver one day, which made my weekend.)

It was hot, busy, hard work with a great boss and a brilliant bunch of people. At the end of the day, I’d rush home to quickly wash the sweet, syrupy smell from my hair and head out to spend my hard-earned cash with my pals.

Most of my friends had Saturday jobs – it was just expected and accepted, and as well as earning a bit of money for the cinema and make-up and books and records, it taught us all a lot about the world of work. After school and the Pancake Place, I switched to university and the local bookshop, a heavenly period of my life because, well, I love books and I no longer had to wear a gingham mop cap.

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The news that the number of working teenagers has almost halved in the last 20 years, sparking fears of the “death of the Saturday job” is sad, but hardly surprising. A Resolution Foundation report revealed recently that only a quarter of 16 and 17-year-olds were in work between 2017 and 2019 – a fall from 48 percent in 1997 to 1999 – because they were instead prioritising studies over part-time work.

Cue lots of older people throwing their hands up in horror, exclaiming in disgust at this workshy generation of layabout teenagers.

But we should cut the young people some slack.

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I see how hard my 16-year-old works on homework, assignments, exam prep.Yes, we all did it, but the pressure our teenagers are under, academically and socially, seems much greater. Competition for university places is much fiercer than I remember it and social media has introduced a whole new level of anxiety. Today’s teens face huge battles in the future - climate change, terrorism - and generally, will have to work longer and retire much later than their grandparents did.

Let them have their Saturdays while they can.