can someone tell me the path i need to become a counsellor in the uk including uni courses, postgrad (if necessary), work experience/ volunteering etc?
I may be able to help here as I am currently on this path!
As far as qualifications, you need to have, as a minimum, a level 4 counselling qualification, which includes a minimum of 100 face-to-face client hours. You can begin by studying a level 2 course, which is an introductory short course (you could do this online). You would then do a level 3 counselling skills course, which is part-time, usually 1 class per week for 1 academic year. You then move on to study at level 4, which is usually a 2-year course, again, probably 1 class per week, but also involves finding a placement as a trainee counsellor to get your client hours. This is a typical route.
There are other ways, for example, an MA course, which is a 3-year course (I don't know as much about this route).
My route has involved doing a BSc in Psychology and Counselling, then a level 3 counselling course, and I am currently enrolled on a level 4 course.
As far as experience, anything that involves helping is good. It could be support work, volunteering for Samaritans or similar. Anything like that. Mental health work could also be useful. Work experience is not a requirement, but may help when it comes to applying for placements or work after you qualify.
Hope this helps a little!