NOT for the youth of today is shelf-stacking or babysitting. Young people of the 21st century are shunning traditional methods of generating extra cash and turning to the internet to earn a crust.

Research by Barclays LifeSkills has found students are increasingly making money through websites like eBay and apps that let them sell goods online. The programme polled more than 1000 14 to 21-year-olds in education and not yet in full-time employment, as well as more than 1700 older adults aged 22 and over. Just half of the younger generation currently have a part-time job, compared with 69% of 38 to 58-year-olds who worked when they were younger.

Of those earning cash online, more than two-fifths preferred it over more traditional work because of the flexibility it afforded them. Many of those also said the platform allowed them to be more entrepreneurial. None admitted being attracted to work that can be undertaken from under a duvet.

Who can blame this “entrepreneurial” spirit. Why do battle keeping bosses and the general public appeased when you can earn a few quid from the comfort of your own bedroom? No set hours … no Crimplene uniform … no smiling through gritted teeth as ill-mannered kids run riot as you try to serve them chicken nuggets … no disappointment when a tip fails to materialise. Instead, in the virtual world of employment, you can go to work in your jammies and be as surly as you choose.

But aren’t these youngsters missing out on valuable life skills and the opportunity to build character?

I look back on my own chequered history of student jobs with some fondness. This is undoubtedly helped by lenses of a rose-tinted hue and the passing of time.

“Character-building”. That was the term used by the proper grown-ups if you were to point out that, actually, your job was a bit rubbish.

On reflection, though, I do recall being generally enthusiastic and eager to be in gainful employment as a teenager and into my early 20s, no matter the finer detail of the work required.

My first job was as a particularly clueless – and, at 15, clearly underage – wine waitress at an Indian restaurant.

This was the 1980s and an array of luridly coloured cocktails and liqueurs were the order of the day.

Moscow Mules, Midori, White Russians, Blue Bols. I spilled them all. On one less than edifying shift, I was sent to the kitchen to get cream for a Pina Colada.

I still hadn’t got the hang of how the in-out swing doors worked. I learned too late to avoid wearing the entire jug of cream I was carrying. By the end of the night after a long, hot shift, the rancid stench from my blouse was outponging even the aroma of curry.

But no-one died during my summer as the worst wine waitress in the West of Scotland. OK, one woman got a nasty blister when she failed to blow out her Flaming Sambuca before drinking it, but how was I to know she didn’t know quite what she was ordering?

All very character-building …