HIDDEN away in a somewhat grey industrial yard stands a well-kept secret.

Just Trading Scotland (JTS) can be easily missed but the work it does is crucial in helping to create a better life for farmers in some of the world’s most underdeveloped countries.

The company works closely with farmers to ensure they are given a fair price for their produce and then helps to sell the goods on.

However, it is not just workers in Malawi and Sri Lanka who have benefitted from the work done by JTS.

Barrhead-born Martin Hamilton spent his teenage years in and out of care homes after leaving school at only 14.

Without an education and struggling to provide for his young family, he tried almost everything to get into work after moving to Paisley.

Despite having no qualifications, he was finally given a chance by JTS.

Martin, 32, said: “When it came to writing my CV, I had no qualifications and no references and I just had to say that.

“When the management saw the application, they thought it was terrible but they knew I could have just lied.

“I remember the day I got their phone call. I actually missed the call and was so skint at the time that I couldn’t even afford to call back.

“I was panicking and had to go to a neighbour’s house to use their phone.

“Getting a job was such a big deal as I had never really had any income coming into the family.”

Over the past decade, Martin has gone from working in the warehouse to managing the day-to-day duties of the JTS operation, which is based in Paisley, including arranging the importation of fairtrade products.

He said: “The work the company does is crucial and it is run by people who have a massive passion for their work.

“People who come here to work don’t last long if they don’t get invested in the story. The passion that comes out of the board members is absolutely superb.

“Really, the exploitation in some sectors of the food business is hard to put into words. These farmers don’t have much but they do have a passion for their farms and family.

“All they want is to be treated fairly. They live in small houses and don’t have some of the simple things we take for granted, such as running water, electricity or even concrete floors.

“It puts your own life into perspective. Hopefully, we can show the next generation how to treat human beings equally and be fair in how we work and how we supply foods.”

Just Trading Scotland is based at Unit 3/4, Wallneuk Road, Paisley. For more information, send an email to info@jts.co.uk, call 0141 255 0901 or visit the website at www.jts.co.uk.