Proud Plymothian Recognised at Prestigious National Awards

15 February 2018 | College News, Engineering, Automotive & Marine

City College Plymouth is celebrating as former student and Managing Director of Princess Yachts, Chris Gates, was one of five inspirational and high-achieving further education alumni receiving prestigious Association of Colleges’ (AoC) Gold Awards this year.

The alumni were recognised for their achievements at a well-attended presentation ceremony at the House of Commons. The national awards celebrate the success of (and the breadth and depth of) further education alumni and acknowledge the vital role that colleges play in building the foundation of successful careers.

Chris was nominated by City College, where he completed an Engineering Apprenticeship in 1981 whilst working at the large US engineering company, Gleason, before completing a HNC in Mechanical and Production Engineering. He then went on to join Princess Yachts in 1989 as Production Controller, becoming Manufacturing Director in 1991 and Managing Director in 2008. 

On accepting the award, Chris said: “My time at City College was hugely influential in putting me on the path that has brought me to where I am today. As an apprentice, I had the best of both worlds – a fantastic educational experience at the College, alongside real industry experience on a day-to-day basis. Plymouth’s apprentices are the life blood of the City; they are our leaders of the future. They finish their training work-ready and that is invaluable to them and the businesses they work for.”

Phil Davies Principal and Chief Executive of City College Plymouth, said: “It is a proud day for City College when one of our alumni is honoured with a national award. Chris is the ultimate role model for young people, proving that you can work your way to the top through a vocational education or Apprenticeship route. He has always closely supported education, and worked with the College to promote a variety of routes and opportunities for Princess employees. In fact, he is doing all he can to make sure that young people in the City and his own staff continue to have the same opportunities he did and more. Chris is a fantastic ambassador for further education, Apprenticeships, the College and the City – a very deserving winner of the AoC Gold Award.”

Further education colleges provide high-quality technical and professional education and training for young people, adults and employers. The AoC Gold Awards highlight the role they play in providing over three million students with valuable employability skills, helping to develop their career opportunities and strengthening the local, regional and national economy.

Colleges are inspirational places to learn because education and training is delivered by expert teaching staff in industry-standard facilities. From basic skills to postgraduate degrees, colleges offer first rate academic and vocational teaching, in a range of professions including engineering, hospitality, IT, construction and the creative arts.

Former winners of an AoC Gold Award have included Jamie Oliver, Colin Firth, Jimmy Choo, Alan Titchmarsh, Deborah Meaden and Baroness Warsi.

You can discover the range of Apprenticeship opportunities available at City College’s Drop-in event on Wednesday 7 March, 4.30pm to 6.30pm at Kings Road. Visit or call 01752 305300 for more information.

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