Gates was launching the latest of his performing arts academies at Huddersfield New College, in West Yorkshire, where Musharaf Asghar - known to millions of Channel 4 viewers as Mushy - is hoping to be one of the first students.
Mushy said Gates was an inspiration.
"I've seen him on TV and, now, to meet him in person is a real honour," the teenager said.
Gates told Mushy he loved him on Educating Yorkshire - the hit show about the children and staff at Thornhill Academy, in nearby Dewsbury.
Mushy, who has an acute stammer, became one of the stars of the programme as he battled to overcome his speaking difficulties.
"For me to watch that, it really took me back to when I was at school," the Pop Idol runner-up and Dancing On Ice star told him.
"I wasn't able to say a word and it's just awful, you know.
"The likes of yourself and me, it raises the profile of speaking and stammering, it really helps lots of people.
"It's all good."
Gates toured the performing arts centre at the college where his academy classes will take place. And he performed a medley of classics for hundreds of cheering students, getting many of them up on stage for an encore of his hit Spirit In The Sky.